Employees with the Department of Human Services will see a 13% pay raise, Gov. Kevin Stitt and DHS Director Justin Brown announced Thursday.
This would affect more than 3,700 employees who are considered "the frontlines of delivering services to Oklahoma's most vulnerable."
“Honestly this is probably the largest adjustment for Department of Human Services employees in the history of the state. So, these are the people that work really hard on the front lines serving the community, said Oklahoma DHS Director Justin Brown.
Just three months into his new gig as DHS director, Brown is making a lot of his employees happy.
“This group of people who have been underpaid from peer to peer agency pay, I want to thank you for your service, sticking with us. It is a better day getting brighter. Things are moving forward,” said Representative Kevin Wallace (R) Appropriations & Budget Chair.
The raises will cost 10.8 million dollars annually. DHS will pay for it by not filling roughly 400 of 950 vacant positions, so the agency won’t be asking the state for more money.
“These are positions that are unfilled and have been vacant for years, and actually the directors of these divisions said we don’t need these positions because we’ve become more efficient over the years,” said Brown.
That will also give the department money to fill the remaining 450 vacant slots.
“We’re looking to fill positions that are customer facing. Those that actually engage with the people that we serve, so this is not building the agency or the bureaucracy. It is actually delivering service in a better way,” said Brown.
Those raises will go into effect in October.