Oklahoma County Commissioners Vote Down Pay Raise

Wednesday, September 2nd 2009, 8:46 pm
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- All eight Oklahoma County Commissioners voted down pay raises on Wednesday.

The pay raise was not something the commissioners initiated, but rather it was part of an automatic pay mechanism that was established in 2004 before any of the commissioners held office.

The raises amounted to about $2,000 a year for the eight elected county officials, but the issue was whether the public officials who make more than $100,000 a year should accept the raises.

Published reports seemed to suggest Commissioners Willa Johnson and Ray Vaughan were in favor of taking the money, but both denied that Wednesday.

"The information that's gotten out that Ms. Johnson and I voted to raise our own pay is totally erroneous," said District 3 County Commissioner Ray Vaughn.

District 1 County Commissioner Willa Johnson said she was not in favor of the raise but wanted to include the budget board before a vote was made.

"Mr. Maughan brought up the idea that we should probably not take the raise and my position was let's ask the budget board," Johnson said.

Even though the board of commissioners decides whether to go through with the vote, it did consult other members.

"I personally appreciate the opportunity. I got a call from Ms. Johnson the other day asking for my input on it," said Oklahoma County Treasurer Forest "Butch" Freeman.

And in the end, the board unanimously voted down the raise.

However, because the automatic pay mechanism remains in place, commissioners will have to vote whether to accept the raises again next year. Commissioner Maughan said he wants to do away with automatic raises and will draft a motion to do so sometime next year.