The pay of the legislators who make the decisions directly affecting Oklahoma’s energy industry—–wind, coal, electricity and oil and gas—-is being cut.
And at least one legislative leader doesn’t like it. The Legislative Compensation Board voted Thursday to reduce the salaries of legislators by 8.8% effective in November 2018.
But House Speaker Charles McCall was against the move.
“I don’t do this job for the money, so personally I don’t mine the vote at all,” said the Republican from Atoka in a statement. “Cutting compensation ensures that in the future many lower-income but capable citizens won’t be able to run for the Legislature. Only those with financial means will have the opportunity to represent citizens at the Capitol.”
State lawmakers are paid $38,500 for their work.
“This job is about public service as it should be. But this is not a ‘part-time job’ as so many like to say,” argued McCall. “The four-month legislative session is only a portion of the work that lawmakers do.”
Despite his resentment over the pay cut, McCall said the move might open the door for discussions of how much executive administrators are paid “amidst all the state agency corruption and mismanagement that has taken place during the last seven years.”
He took aim at the heads of some of the state agencies.
“Many of these directors and appointments make four to five times as much as a state legislator, if not more. The same agency heads that said they were going to cut services to the states’ most vulnerable due to a lack of funds are paying themselves and their subordinates hefty six-figure salaries,” said the Speaker.
He cited the case of former Oklahoma Commissioner of Health Terry Cline who received more than $195,000 a year before he resigned after more than $31 million in financial mismanagement was discovered. Cline’s Deputy Health Commissioner Julie Cox-Kain was paid more than $146,000 annually before she resigned as well.