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Proposed bill would require legislative oversight for salaries of state agency directors

OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma state senator is hoping to pass a bill that would require more oversight when it comes to the salaries of state agency leaders.

Senate Bill 247, which was proposed by Sen. Ron Sharp, would require approval of proposed state agency director pay raises by the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees before it could go into effect.

Currently, the legislature has no control over how agencies choose to spend their appropriated budgets.

“It’s hard to believe but some of the commissions and boards charged with financial oversight of state agencies have given raises to their agency directors when their budgets were being cut.  This bill would hold agency boards and commissions accountable to the legislature for their decisions concerning director pay,” said Sharp, R-Shawnee.  “While revenues are increasing and it appears Oklahoma is on stable financial ground, we must continue working to ensure fiscal efficiency within our agencies.”

Some state agencies have their own board or commission to oversee the agency’s appropriated budget and is then tasked with making financial decisions, like director and staff salaries.

According to data submitted to the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, more than $1.2 million of raises have been given to directors of state boards, commissions, authorities and agencies since July 1, 2013. Nearly half of those raises were over $10,000, and some were as high as $64,000.

“This isn’t saying that these directors don’t deserve their salaries but the legislature is responsible for ensuring efficient use of taxpayer dollars so the appropriations subcommittees should play a role in approving director raises,” said Sharp.

The legislative session begins on Monday, Feb. 4.

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