OKLAHOMA CITY - Employees with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services will be getting a bigger paycheck, officials announced Thursday.
Governor Kevin Stitt and DHS Director Justin Brown announced raises for the state agency.
“Either customer-facing or support for customer-facing so those that really impact the people that we serve,” Brown said.
3,700 DHS employees will receive a 13% raise. That's 62% of employees across the state.
After a year-long study, DHS also decided to not fill hundreds of vacant positions, which totals $10.8 million that will now be used for the pay raises.
“We also have 400 positions that those directors told us that they don`t need so we eliminated those positions that were vacant or hadn`t been filled in years,” Brown said.
Brown says the raises come after his office did the study.
They found some of the employees were being paid below what others in similar positions were being paid in other states.
“We`re candidly trying to appreciate the folks that work for us and have been earning less than their agency peers, so, now we`re getting them to that level,” he said.
It's something that has been difficult with years of budget cuts at the agency.
Brown says they were able to give the pay raises without increasing the state's budget.
“We have to be competitive. We have to be out there not only sharing that if you have a passion to work for the community, then you should work for DHS,” Brown said.
“DHS has identified a sound path to live within their budget while also giving frontline employees an earned pay raise equal to that of their peers in other state agencies," Stitt said in a press release. "As DHS continues to cast a bold path forward in delivering critical services, I encourage Oklahomans to consider applying to join this mission-focused team as they work to provide Top Ten services our most vulnerable populations.”
There are currently 550 vacant positions in the agency.