The Norman Transcript

Opinion

February 6, 2013

A study on worker pay long overdue for state

NORMAN — It’s been more than six years since state workers saw an across-the-board pay raise. Some agencies have been able to provide increases to their workers, but most salaries have been frozen.

It appears money was available, but Gov. Mary Fallin didn’t include a state employee raise in this year’s proposed executive budget. But she did open the door to a plan supported by state workers. The budget includes $200,000 to study state worker pay in hopes of moving to a performanced-based system.

It also will look at the salaries in comparable private sector jobs. With unemployment among the lowest in the nation, many government agencies have trouble keeping employees.

State workers have asked for years to be paid salaries comparable to what similar jobs pay in the private sector. Now, an independent analysis will look at job requirements, salaries, benefits, retirement, etc. A group looked at salary and benefit levels for the city of Norman this past year.

Some agencies have asked for raises to attract and retain employees. DHS, corrections and public safety have all requested additional funds in order to retain workers.

Employee turnover is costly to any industry, and state government is no exception. The governor is to be commended for moving forward on the issue and lawmakers should fund the study.

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