DPS Commissioner Warns Budget Cuts Could Mean Trooper Furloughs

Thursday, January 20th 2011, 4:15 pm
By: News 9

Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The new commissioner of Oklahoma's Department of Public Safety is warning lawmakers that furloughing troopers and other personnel is one of the few ways the agency has to respond to looming budget cuts.

Commissioner Michael Thompson outlined his budget proposal on Thursday to a Senate budget panel, which grilled him on how the agency is prioritizing its spending.

Committee chairman Sen. Jonathan Nichols says he's a strong supporter of public safety, but expressed concern that agencies like DPS may be "hedging agency budgets" and carrying over millions of dollars to soften the blow of budget cuts.

Thompson says the agency will look for any savings that will prevent trooper furloughs, but that personnel costs account for more than 90 percent of the agency's budget.