Civil Service HR Overhaul Signed Into Law, Reforming State Hiring Practices

Tuesday, April 27th 2021, 6:16 pm


Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill making it easier to hire, fire and promote state employees into law Monday, calling it a "major milestone." 

“I called this bill the least sexy big deal of the year,” Rep. Mike Osburn.  

The State of Oklahoma is roughly the state's second largest employer with more than 32,000 employees. 

“Men and women across state government, they’ve been stuck in an outdated system that doesn’t really prioritize hard work,” Stitt said. “Agencies has have had their hands tied when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent.” 

House Bill 1146 eliminates a complicated system that places state employees in one of three categories, each with its own pay caps and due process rights.

“This pandemic has taught us that the government needs to serve the people in their time of need and this legislation will allow us to do this in the best way possible,” Oklahoma Employment Security Commission Director Shelley Zumwalt said. 

The new law eliminates the Merit Protection Commission that currently oversees workplace grievances and replaces it with administrative law judges within the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. 

“We are excited to take on this opportunity to streamline and find efficiencies in government services,” Office of Management and Enterprise Services director Steven Harpe said. “We look forward to working with our partners within state government as we develop this new system.” 

The new law takes effect January 1, 2021. 

“People talk about it makes it easier to get rid of someone, but what it really does is make it much easier to reward good work tenacity a public servant’s heart and I’m proud to be a part of it,” co-author Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-OKC, said.