Oklahoma DOC Workers March On Capitol Over Lack Of Pay Raise

Wednesday, May 8th 2013, 6:21 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Oklahoma Department of Corrections officers across the state marched on the Capitol Thursday demanding a raise. This year's state budget doesn't call for one and workers say they deserve better.

DOC officers say it's been seven years since they had a raise yet they say lawmakers approved $7 million to renovate House and Senate offices.

"I'm kind of disgruntled about it actually," said Lt. Cecil Dooley, who has been a corrections officer for 14 years. "I've got a family and it's kind of hard to make ends meet when you're only bringing home $1,900 a month."

It's a case the officers tried to make with members of the House Wednesday. But the Governor and other lawmakers point to a $6 million discrepancy between what the DOC reported to them and what is actually in their main fund. 

5/8/2013 Related Story: Oklahoma House, Senate Panels OK $7.1B Budget Bill

"It is clear at this point that the Department of Corrections has millions of dollars in revolving funds to address its immediate needs," said Fallin's communications Director Alex Weintz.  "It's also clear that the manner in which the DOC accounts for its funds needs to be more accurate, more transparent, or both."

Weintz said the governor is not comfortable giving the agency more resources until it has thoroughly addressed those issues.

"Governor Fallin knows there are many hardworking public servants at DOC, and she respects the work they do. Their leadership has not served them well by failing to fully and accurately disclose the agency's finances."

The Governor also wants a study of the pay of all state employees compared to the private sector.

"Governor Fallin supports pursuing an employee compensation study to evaluate the salary and benefits needs of all state employees, including corrections officers. Her goal is to work with lawmakers to address the long term needs of state employees in a variety of areas, including salaries, pensions, and health benefits," said Weintz.

5/2/2013 Related Story: Lack Of Salary Increase In New Budget Deal Outrages OHP Troopers

But corrections officers Wednesday say their pay is below that of 7-11 workers. And they are charged with public safety and put themselves in harm's way every day.

Yesterday, Highway Patrol Troopers staged a similar protest because this year's budget also doesn't include a raise for them as well.