Continuing his efforts to provide increased agency fiscal efficiency and accountability, Sen. Ron Sharp filed legislation Friday to require legislative oversight of state agency director salary increases. Senate Bill 247 would require approval of proposed agency director pay raises by the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees tasked with oversight of the director’s agency.
“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.”
The House and Senate appropriations subcommittees are responsible for creating and overseeing the budgets of specific state agencies. Certain state agencies have a board or commission that oversees the agency’s state-appropriated budget and makes financial decisions such as director and staff salaries. Currently, the legislature has no control over how agencies choose to spend their appropriated budgets. SB 247 would give the legislature oversight of the commission/board decisions concerning director pay.
Under SB 247, the governor would make recommendations to the legislative appropriations subcommittees concerning director salary increases for those entities without an oversight board or commission.
Under HB 1717 passed in 2013, agencies are required to submit any director raises to the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES). According to data submitted to OMES, 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 the reported raises were over $10,000 and as high as nearly $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, February 4.