Some State Agencies May Close Offices, Reduce Services During Walkout
OKLAHOMA CITY - If teachers walk out on April 2nd many state employees say they will too. The Oklahoma Public Employee’s Association (OPEA) says members have been told to take annual leave (vacation time) if they want to participate in the walkout.
State agencies say they have asked employees to turn in leave requests to see how many want to participate in the walkout, then they will make contingency plans.
The Oklahoma Historical Society is in the business of history but come April 2nd they could be part of it.
“I will be there not as Bob Blackburn agency director, I will be there as citizen, taxpayer,” said the director of the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Although the Oklahoma History Center will likely stay open. Blackburn says depending on how many of his employees feel the same way as he does and wants to participate in the walkout some of their 25 sites with smaller staffs may shut down.
“We are going to allow them to take their annual leave and let the public know in advance that the site or museum will close to the public,” said Blackburn.
Some driver's license bureaus could also close.
“Some of these offices in the rural areas only have one or two people in the office,” said Captain Paul Timmons with the Department of Public Safety.
Troopers will not be allowed to take the time off, but DPS civilian employees will be allowed to participate. That could mean longer lines for other DPS services.
“We estimate the biggest areas impacted will be our driver’s license services and probably size and waste permits,” said Timmons.
The Department of Human Services cannot officially close offices but may not allow walk-ins at some locations.
OPEA says their goal was never to shut down state services, but that may be a by-product.
“I think legislators need to know how important state services are in their district and this is going to be one way to do that,” said Tom Dunning, communications director with OPEA.