In Memory of Commissioner Mark Costello


 

Members and staff of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association join our fellow Oklahomans in mourning the tragic death of Labor Commissioner Mark Costello.
 
Commissioner Costello was a tireless worker and was firm in his beliefs. He frequently traveled across the state to meet with business owners and employee and was always willing to sit with OPEA to discuss issues important our state’s working men and women. 
 
Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, his colleagues in state government and the employees of the Oklahoma Department of Labor. He will be missed.

 




OPEA TO Hold Special Election 

 

A special election is being held for Regional Director Seats for Region 11 and Retiree West on the OPEA Board of Directors.  The candidate filing deadline is August 31 at 5:00 p.m. with the election to be held in September. 

 
The term of office is January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2017.  Candidates must have been an OPEA member for at least one year and live in the designated region.  Region 11 in the southeast part of the state and is comprised of Choctaw, Latimer, LeFlore, McCurtain, Pittsburg, and Pushmataha counties.  The Retiree West Region comprises of counties west of I35, with the exceptions of Logan, Cleveland, and Garvin. 

 
The board meets in Oklahoma City approximately eight times during the year on Saturdays.  In addition, Board members must attend OPEA statewide events, such as convention and OPEA Day at the Capitol.  Expenses are reimbursed by the association.  Regional directors also work with staff to oversee and develop activities in the region.  If you have any questions, email Trish Frazier or call her at 405-524-6764 or 800-880-6732.

 



OPEA has just put in the Tshirt order for this year's convention. If you want to attend and have not registered, please email Jacqui as soon as possible. It will soon be time to see old friends and make new ones at our 40th Annual Convention. Come "Back to the Future" with OPEA on August 28th and 29th!.




Rep. Inman & Rep. Osborn To Address Convention

   


Oklahoma State Representatives Scott Inman (Del City) and Leslie Osborn (Tuttle) will speak to the delegates at the OPEA convention August 29th in Oklahoma City. They, along with OPEA member Ron Wilson from the Human Capitol Management Division of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services will discuss state employee compensation.

Please make plans to join you fellow members at this year's convention as we go "Back To The Future" to celebrate OPEA's 40th anniversary. If you have any questions, please email Jacqui Soukup.





 



40th Anniversary Convention Hotel Rooms Are Full



We’ve just learned that OPEA has reached its allotment of rooms for our 40th Annual Convention at the Crowne Plaza – Oklahoma City. Even if you don’t have a room reserved, we still welcome you to register and attend August 28th and 29th.  All members are welcome to attend both Friday and Saturday’s events, but we have filled our number of sponsored rooms available to members.


Members who register now to attend will be placed on a first-come-first-served waiting list for a sponsored room. If we have cancellations, we will make those rooms available.
If you have emailed Jacqui at OPEA to request a room, you still need to send in your registration form if you have not done so. We will not send a confirmation number to you until you send in the registration. Jacqui’s contact information is (405) 524-6764 or jacquis@opea.org.


Thank you for the great response to our convention registration and we look forward to having a great and fun convention later this month.





 

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President's Corner

July 6, 2015

As we move into the new fiscal year for all of our state agencies, it is difficult not to ask how far can agencies be cut before we delve into being unable to provide core functions of government?  The majority of you who are still actively employed by the State of Oklahoma have experienced reduction after reduction in different areas over the last decade.  Whether that is staffing levels, training opportunities, or to the extreme, the closing of some facilities, it is easy and understandable to feel discouraged by what appears to be a constant attack on the services state employees provide. 

In fairness, the legislature took some steps this session to address much of what is to blame for agency budget issues, namely tax credits.  However, there is more work to be done to improve revenue if we are to get back to an acceptable level of funding for state services.  Even though Oklahoma’s economy is not in poor shape, giving away millions of dollars in potential revenue to companies that do not do enough to spur economic growth is a poor business practice.  Furthermore, as state employees, we should be asking why the burden of balancing the state’s budget must be shouldered primarily on our collective backs.

As you speak with your legislators out in the district, ask these very questions.  Let them know that Oklahoma is beginning to teeter into a public safety crisis due to the reductions to those providing core government services.  If  our state cannot adequately house dangerous offenders, serve the elderly and disabled or provide safe roads and bridges,  do  they want  a crisis to occur on their watch? The fact is, we inch closer to that every year. It is past time to reverse the trend before services are irreparably damaged due to reductions. We are dangerously approaching the line of crisis.

As the saying goes, we should not “throw the baby out with the bath water”.  All tax credits and incentives are not bad.  In fact, if a company comes into our state and creates jobs, we should encourage those credits.  However, right now many of those credits on the books are a drain on Oklahoma’s revenue and provide no economic benefit to the citizens of Oklahoma. They take away funds to pay for vital services. 

Many of us were raised with value of hard work and contributing ourr fair share.  Oklahoma must hold the companies receiving the tax incentives to this same value.  OPEA represents these values on your behalf every day but we cannot take up the fight alone.  We need you as our “boots on the ground” in your legislative districts telling your story about the importance of funding the services you provide to our citizens.  After all, you carry the most weight with the folks who write the checks.  

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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.