Steve Paris Presented OPEA Lifetime Achievement Award


Long-time OPEA member Steve Paris was presented the OPEA Lifetime Achievement Award at the association's 40th annual convention last Saturday. Paris, who recently retired after a long career in state service, is a former OPEA president and currently serves as chairman of the OPEA Political Action Committee. Paris also sits on the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System advisory board. 

Steve was nominated for the award by former OPEA director Pat Hall and was joined at the banquet by many friends as well as his wife and daughter.


Steve Paris Accepts His Award as Pat Hall Look On


Lynn Hodges Selected Past Presidents Award as 2015 Retiree of the Year

The 2015 "Past Presidents Retiree of the Year" is Lynn Hodges. Lynn is retired from the Oklahoma State Department of Health and has been extremely active in and supportive of OPEA’s retiree committee.  As a member of the committee, Lynn has followed retiree issues in Oklahoma and all surrounding states.  He has also researched and followed legislation and litigation nationwide allowing the committee to be well-informed regarding any issues pertaining to state retirees. Lynn has attended all retiree committee meetings, several OPEA board meetings, legislative days and met with Rep. Jon Echols, OPEA staff, and board members and was instrumental in obtaining Rep. Echols’ support to author OPEA retiree legislation last session.  


Lynn Hodges accepts the award from OPEA President Jess Callahan. Also pictured are Don Keenan, Dixie Jackson, Cheryl Horsley, Connie Stockton and Steve Paris.


Brandi Poage Chosen 2015 Gaines Stout Member of the Year

The 2015 Gaines Stout Member of the Year award was given to Brandi Poage at this year's annual convention.  Brandi is president of the Tulsa Oklahoma Employment Security Commission OPEA chapter and has worked hard during the past year to revive the OESC Chapter after it had gone dormant in the last few years.   Previous to serving as president, she was vice president and assumed the responsibilities of president when the chapter president left the agency. Brandi planned several activities for the chapter such as donation drive for the John 3:16 Mission. She has also been active statewide and participated in the convention each year.  At her workplace, she has organized several membership recruitment events over the past, and a grievance training workshop.  

This annual award is given in honor of one of OPEA's founding members, Gaines Stout, who was instrumental in the founding of OPEA in 1975.


Region Eight Director Tracey Ritz, Brandi Poage and OPEA President Jess Callahan


Frances Mayanja Selected as 2015 Pat Hall Volunteer Of the Year

OPEA member Frances Mayanja an employee of the Office of Juvenile Affairs' Central Oklahoma Juvenile Treatment Center in Tecumseh was selected  as the 2015 Pat Hall Volunteer of the Year.  Francis works as the Client Advocate of the facility and his dedication to Oklahoma’s troubled youth led him to continue this work at COJC when the Rader Center closed. 


Pat Hall (left) and OPEA President Jess Callahan (right) Present Francis Mayanja with the 2015 Volunteer Of The Year Award

As a long-time OPEA member while employed at both facilities Francis has been involved in working with OPEA to resolve issues for employees and the youth they serve. He is willing to work after hours to ensure the success of the chapter and OPEA. He has attended board meetings, OPEA Day at the Capitol and assisted with chapter activities including a cookout for legislators and employees.  

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.



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President's Corner

August 15, 2015

One of my favorite activities when looking at things in a historical context is seeing what the world was like at the inception of something.  Given that we will soon celebrate the Oklahoma Public Employees Association’s 40th anniversary, it was interesting to see what the world looked like when our association was in its infancy in 1975.  A gallon of gas cost $0.44 and the average cost of a new vehicle was $4,250.  The Vietnam War was ending.  Oklahoma was transitioning from Gov. David Hall to Gov. David Boren.  And as much as it pains me to say it, the Oklahoma Sooners, led by Barry Switzer, Quarterback Steve Davis and Defensive Linemen Lee Roy and Dewey Selmon, were the champions of the college football world.  

While all that was going on in the world around them, a courageous group of state employees and retirees decided it was time to take a stand.  They decided it was time to band together and fight for a voice.  It was time to cut through the red tape and bureaucracy that existed as government employees.  They decided enough is enough. 

It is difficult to fathom the thoughts and fears those employees must have felt while organizing OPEA.  Backlash, shunning, and even termination from employment were all realistic fears staring each one of them in the face.  Yet, they pressed-on knowing that state employees deserved fair wages, decent benefits, a quality work place and to not fear the political patronage process.  As crazy as it sounds, some of our early leaders even put personal property up as collateral to help get this association off the ground!

As with any group that has been around for 40 years, there have been ups and downs.  Even during the times of turmoil, you as a member have been the heart and soul of OPEA. Through thick-and-thin you, or members,  have stood side by side in support of OPEA and state employees.  We have not only survived the rough seas, we became better because of it. 

Even though being a state employee today still presents trials and tribulations from time-to-time, just think what it would be like if that courageous group of eight individuals had not banded together.  As you enjoy paid vacation, a benefit allowance, merit protection, and your yearly longevity check, remember the will and drive those individuals exuded to get us there.  

Blog Feed

  • OPEA Office Closed For Labor Day

    • Wednesday, September 2, 2015
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     The OPEA office will be closed Friday, September 4th through Monday, September 7th for the Labor Day weekend. We will resume regular office hours on Tuesday. We hope everyone has a fun and safe weekend.

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  • Guests Are Always Welcome at OPEA

    • Tuesday, August 18, 2015
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  • Social Media Posts Can Be Grounds For Discipline

    • Sunday, July 5, 2015
    • admin

    Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are very popular with members and can be a great way to communicate what is going on with your family and friends. They also serve to connect people from across the world who have similar interests. State agencies use social media sites to promote their mission and connect with citizens. OPEA uses both Facebook and Twitter to reach out to our members and others. If used properly, these sites can be a lot of fun too.

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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.