Nominate A Deserving OPEA Member or Chapter Today

OPEA members and chapters exhibiting exceptional dedication to OPEA’s mission will be honored at this year’s annual convention during the awards luncheon. Three individual awards and one chapter award will be announced. Nominations are currently being accepted for the following awards. In this, our association’s 40th year, we encourage OPEA members to submit the names of chapters and members for our annual awards.

Gaines Stout Award - Member of the Year
Pat Hall Award - Volunteer of the Year
Past Presidents Award - Retiree of the Year
Art Jackson Award - Chapter of the Year

Criteria for the awards can be found in the most recent edition of The Advocate and nominations must be received by OPEA no later than 5 p.m. on July 15h and may be emailed to dixiej@opea.org or mailed  to Dixie Jackson, OPEA, 13 NE 28th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73105. You may also contact Dixie for more informatin about the awards. Help make sure that hard working OPEA members and chapters get the recognition they deserve.



 

Want To Be An OPEA Leader?
Consider Running For A Regional Director Position
 

Members in Regions One, Three, Five, Seven, Nine and Eleven, as well as retirees in the western sections of Oklahoma, will have the opportunity to help guide the future of OPEA as elections for Regional Directors will be held.

“We urge any member who is interested in working with us as a Regional Director to consider running,” said OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley. “Our association needs leaders who will take an active role in organizing members in their part of the state and help guide OPEA as a whole.”

The most important function of a Regional Director is to network with OPEA members in their region and work with them to develop a strong local presence for OPEA. They work with other members to help the association grow and to develop and strengthen local chapters.

“OPEA is most effective at the capitol and with state agencies when we have strong local leaders and chapters. We need leaders in OPEA who will take time to develop relationships with other OPEA members in their region and grow our association,” Zearley said. “We also need them to build relationships with their legislators.”

“We get a lot done in the board meeting but we have a lot of fun too,” Zearley said of the board of directors. “They are a great bunch of people who come from different backgrounds and experiences. Everyone brings their own unique perspective to the table.:

The Regional Directors from across the state also comprise the OPEA Board of Directors. The board works with OPEA staff to conduct the association’s business as well as develop its policy and bylaws.  They meet approximately eight times a year on Saturdays in Oklahoma City and also attend OPEA statewide events, such as days at the Capitol and convention. Occasionally as OPEA leaders, the directors are asked to contact their lawmakers about special OPEA issues.

 

To serve as an active state employee regional director, the candidate must be an active state employee and live in the region’s boundaries. They must also have been an OPEA member for one year prior to the election and cannot have been a member of a competing organization for two years.  To serve as the west retiree director, the candidate must be a retired member of OPEA and live in the west region. The term of office for these positions will be January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2017.


 




 

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President's Corner


The phrase “All Politics Is Local” is attributed to former Speaker of the House Thomas ‘Tip’ O’Neill but it has been used by many people throughout the years to describe our country’s political process. These four words hammer home the point that regardless of who is in office, elected officials should answer to the folks back home.
Oklahoma’s legislature is especially “local”. I’d bet nearly every OPEA member knows at least one legislator. You may have gone to school with them, worship with them, cheer on the local teams with them or do business with them. If you don’t know them personally, you may know someone in their family. If you live or were raised in a small Oklahoma town like I was, you know that everyone knows everyone else. Sometimes we know too much about our neighbors.

But when it comes to politics, knowing your local elected officials away from the political arena is vital to being able to communicate your feelings about an issue. If your lawmakers know you by name and recognize you when you meet, you need to use that relationship to let them know of the great things that state employees do.
When the lawmakers go home after the session is over, I challenge each OPEA member to contact your house member and state senator. If you already know them, this will be easy to do. If you don’t yet know them, get to know them. Believe it or not, our representatives want to hear from members of their community and that includes state employees and retirees. By establishing a relationship with them now, it will be more meaningful when you contact them later about important issues.

OPEA is local too. Sure, we have an office in Oklahoma City and much of our work is with the legislature and state agencies’ central offices, but we are a statewide, grass-roots organization that spans across the Sooner State. OPEA works best when our members form strong local chapters and become active in their hometowns and local workplaces. OPEA’s board and staff are here to help you start a local chapter or energize an existing one.

Soon, members will have several opportunities to have their views heard and also consider whether or not they would like to take a more active leadership role in our association. Plans have been made for local platform meetings during which members will discuss and select items that they would like to see OPEA take an active role in promoting. Sometimes, these “planks” are in the form of resolutions that guide OPEA’s actions or they may set the legislative priorities for the next year.
These meetings are a great opportunity for members to have a say in what is important to OPEA. I know that we all are busy with work, church and family activities but I hope you will attend your region’s meetings. The OPEA board and staff have them scheduled and you can find them in this edition of The Advocate.

Another way to “localize” OPEA is to have strong and active regional officers. Elections will be held this summer for directors in the odd-numbered OPEA regions and the retiree west region.  Members elected to those seats are the local OPEA leaders in their region and serve on the board of directors. Today, we have a committed group of leaders who have been elected. However, it is always good to see new people take an active leadership role in our association.  As with any board, OPEA’s board works best when we have a diverse mix of experience, energy and perspective among those on the board.

If you are a member in one of this year’s regions, I hope you will consider running. Serving takes time and commitment but the personal reward and benefits to our association can be great.

Our staff and board are here to work with you to make OPEA as effective as it can be but we will accomplish so much more when we have active and engaged members across Oklahoma.

Blog Feed

  • OPEA Office Closed for Independence Day

    • Tuesday, June 30, 2015
    • admin

    In observance of Independence Day, the OPEA office will be closed Friday, July 3rd. We will open on July 6th at 8 a.m. The OPEA staff and board hopes everyone has a safe and memorable 4th of July.

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  • Happy New Year!

    • Tuesday, June 30, 2015
    • admin

    Well, new state fiscal year to all state employees. July 1st marks the beginning of Oklahoma's new budget year. Let's hope that the cuts forced on state agencies by an inadequate budget don't set state services back too far. If they do, it won't be because of the hard working men and women in our state agencies who,  once again, have been asked to provide necessary services with limited resources. 

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  • It Is Time For OPEA Award Nominations

    • Wednesday, June 24, 2015
    • admin

      OPEA members and chapters exhibiting exceptional dedication to OPEA’s mission will be honored at this year’s annual convention during the awards luncheon. Three individual awards and one chapter award will be announced. Nominations are currently being accepted for the following awards. In this, our association’s 40th year, we encourage OPEA members to submit the names of chapters and fellow members for the awards listed below.

    Read More »

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OPEA Mission

OPEA's mission is to unite public employees in Oklahoma to improve the quality of state employment. We are a grass-roots, member-driven organization. Our board and staff receive information and ideas through member dialogue and participation.