A few weeks ago, in her State of the State speech, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin spent a considerable amount of time describing what I believe to be one of the most, if not the most, important ongoing government modernization initiatives.
Fallin described the performance.ok.gov website and the newly-created performance expectations for state government agencies.
You might recall my article of last week in which I described Oklahoma state government as the perfect multi-tentacled, big-government monster. You can only imagine the challenge facing an Oklahoma Governor who is charged by the people of Oklahoma with the mission of containing this monster and holding government accountable but who in all reality simply does not have the tools or authority to do so. State government is too big and unnecessarily siloed within far too many different agencies which are controlled by boards of unelected bureaucrats who have no natural incentive to be responsive to the people of Oklahoma.
The people can elect their Governor of choice but that person does not have the power to see that the peoples’ desire for efficient government is substantially reflected in any immediate way.
Performance.ok.gov provides the Governor of Oklahoma with a new and powerful tool. Using the system, the Governor and the Governor’s cabinet officers may set performance expectations for state agencies, publish those expectations for all to see, and chart the ongoing progress of state agencies in meeting or not meeting the expectations.
Additionally, the new modernization laws enable the Governor to measure the efficiency or inefficiency of very specific processes which are commonly shared amongst state agencies. Based on this measurement, the Governor has the authority to mitigate those processes which are inefficient and costly to the taxpayer. This puts real teeth into the Governor’s ability to make government more efficient.
Not only does this new system allow the Governor and the public to hold the agencies accountable, but it lets the taxpayers hold the Governor to account as well. For example, if you will navigate to performance.ok.gov you can see the expectations which the Governor has established and see whether those are expectations with which you agree.
The system is still in it’s infancy. It must become much more robust.
For example, visitors to the site should be allowed to download the raw data sets which back up the metrics. This will provide credibility to the system and allow the media, policy organizations and the taxpayers to analyze government performance. The findings of these groups will provide policy makers with insights into government performance which were never before possible.
The number of metrics must also continue to grow and at some point in the not-too-distant future should include direct feedback from the taxpayers. After all, the taxpayers are the consumers of the government service and their voice should be heard in measuring the quality of service provided.
I would suggest that if this reform is completely implemented, in connection with the ongoing agency and process consolidations, the vote of the people of Oklahoma will become much more meaningful. When Oklahomans elect the governors of the future, they will do so with the knowledge that they are electing someone who will be able to truly carry out the voters’ mandate for accountability and efficiency.
Reid Mullins Reports with Lt. Governor Todd Lamb, who has recently wrapped up a tour of all 77 counties in less than 77 days. Lamb discusses what Oklahomans are communicating back to government, including water issues.
Lamb discusses the importance of having GOP leadership in state governments making a difference in the leadership of this country via state sovereignty and the 10th Amendment. Lamb also talks about GOP advances in Oklahoma state government.
Lamb is also a former Secret Service agent and identifies with law enforcement. He just attended a Department of Pubic Safety awards ceremony and speaks to the need for first responders in the most recent severe weather event.
OK2A, pro-gun rights organization, announced that its Board of Directors has unanimously expressed its support for HB1749, which would halt automatic payroll deductions by state agencies for employee dues in any “public employee association or organization or professional organization that…collectively bargains on behalf of its membership.”
This bill would not affect an organizations ability to collect dues from its members, it simply removes the state from the business of supporting private organizations by handling (and using tax dollars to pay for) the collection of that private organization’s membership dues. In the case of the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA), this politically leftist organization has made clear its stance against gun owners’ rights. Some of OEA’s dues money is then passed up the line to the National Education Association (NEA), which calls for “strict prescriptive regulations” of handguns and a total ban on “military-style semiautomatic assault weapons” (NEA resolution I-34, p.91). It is an improper function of government to act as bookkeeper for a private organization and even more improper to support an organization that is so clearly anti-constitutional.
State Chair of the OK GOP, Dave Weston, talks about GOP successes and touts new members who are “fresh blood” into the party.
He talks about the political changes in “Little Dixie” and how the Democratic Party has basically left many voters in S.E. OK.
He also talks about being competitive with Texas and Kansas vis-a-vis personal tax rates.Weston also talks about plans for the party in the near-term, and about his campaign for being reelected as chairman.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) took swift action today in response to a report that a single school district had incorrectly notified teachers they would receive professional development credit for attending an education rally at the State Capitol.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said OSDE officials contacted the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, the Oklahoma State School Boards Association and the school district in question to make it clear that no teacher can be coerced to attend the March 30 rally.
“As soon as we were alerted, we contacted all appropriate parties, including the school district in question, to state plainly that attendance at the rally in no way counts as professional development,” the superintendent said. “No entity should — or is lawfully able to — pressure attendance at the education rally. It is longstanding practice that attendance at such events are strictly voluntary.”
In a March 27 letter to Hofmeister, state Attorney General Scott Pruitt wrote that his office had received inquiries about a district inaccurately telling teachers that their participation in the rally was mandated professional development.
Senator Kyle Loveless (R-Mustang) has requested a legal opinion from Attorney General Scott Pruitt on whether school districts can compel attendance at the education rally planned for Monday at the State Capitol.
“I respect and admire teachers and educators all across our state and welcome them to their state Capitol; however, it has come to my attention that at least one school district is making the rally attendance mandatory for their staff,” Loveless said.
Monday there will be an expected 25,000-30,000 teachers, parents, educators from all over the state rallying at the State Capitol to voice their opinions to legislative leaders.
“I have been asked to keep the name and school district confidential for fear of retribution. I understand the issues facing education in our state and encourage the dialogue, but certainly don’t think any Oklahoman should ever feel pressured to participate in political activity.
“The Attorney General needs to answer these questions as soon as possible and give guidance to Superintendent Hoffmeister so she can direct and inform school districts that attendance should not be forced on anyone,” Loveless said.
Oklahoma School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister’s plan to raise teacher pay in order to bring Oklahoma in line with the national average is strongly supported by Oklahoma likely voters, according to the most recent SoonerPoll.com Quarterly Poll.
The proposal, which would be phased in over five years, would add five paid days of instruction to the school’s academic calendar and increase teachers’ pay $5,000 across the board.
Among likely voters, 63.8 percent strongly supported the superintendent’s proposal, while another 22.4 percent somewhat supported it. Only 10.1 percent opposed the proposal.
“Polling over the last few years has shown Oklahomans support teachers getting an increase in pay,” said Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll. “This particular proposal seems to have caught the interest of voters.”
Support was high across all political party lines, all parts of the state, political ideology, and both men and women of all ages.
Among conservatives, who account for more than 50 percent of the electorate, 68.1 percent of “somewhat conservatives” and 53.4 percent of “very conservatives” strongly supported the proposal. Moderates, who make up about one-third of all likely voters, strongly supported the proposal with 67.2 percent.
Republicans strongly supported the proposal with 60.2 percent and another 22.5 percent somewhat supported it, resulting in a combined support of 82.7 percent among Republicans. Democrat combined support totaled 90.5 percent.
All parts of the state strongly supported the proposal as well. Likely voters in the Tulsa metro area led with 72.2 percent strongly supporting and a combined support of 93.4 percent. Oklahoma City area voters strongly supported the proposal with 68.7 percent and rural voters with 57.0 percent.
Also of interest was the strong support among those age 55 or older, who make up nearly two-thirds of the electorate and are less likely to have school age children. Sixty-five percent of those age 65 or older strongly supported the teacher pay raise proposal, with 66.7 percent of those age 55-64 also strongly supporting it.
Randy Brogdon issued this statement today. He is a candidate for Republican Party chairman, opposing incumbent Dave Weston. Pam Pollard also is a candidate.
Currently there is pending legislation to opt out of the Super Tuesday primary elections on March 1st and move the Oklahoma primaries as far back as April 5th. At the behest of Chairman Dave Weston, without the approval or acknowledgment of the State Committee, SB 233 was presented and passed in the Senate. Now the bill is waiting to be heard on Wednesday, April 1st, in the Elections and Ethics Committee chaired by Representative Paul Wesselhoft.
If this piece of legislation were to pass, I believe that not only would it diminish Oklahoma’s role in the national debate, but it will also discourage participation and disenfranchise Republican voters. After the Super Tuesday primaries are held, many of the presidential candidates will drop out of the race leaving many Republican voters empty handed.
The claim for the legislation is that we must align Oklahoma with new RNC rules in order to maintain our proportional delegates. Not only is there a better way to comply with the new rules, ironically taking the route Chairman Weston has decided to take would strip Oklahoma of its proportional delegates and turn us into a ‘winner-take-all’ state.
As a candidate for State Party Chairman I wanted to weigh in on the pending legislation and express my concern that Oklahoma primary Republican voters will be losing their voice if this bill passes. Oklahoma is the reddest state in the Union and every Presidential candidate should feel obligated to visit with our voters. However, when we allow attempts to move our primary date as far back as April 5th, we are essentially saying that Oklahoma should not matter to these candidates. If the OKGOP were to consider any primary date change it should be for an earlier primary date, not a later one.
If I were the State Party Chairman today, I would take all of these arguments to the State Committee and ask them to call on the entire Elections & Ethics House Committee to kill this bill. If you agree with me and want to keep Oklahoma relevant in the 2016 Presidential Primaries, please call the members of the Elections & Ethics House Committee by April 1st and ask them to vote no on SB 233.
State senators rebuked groups for social media bullying Thursday during heated debate over a bill that would prohibit thousands of Oklahoma educators from paying union dues by state payroll deduction.
In an unusual split among conservatives, Republican state Sen. Greg Treat of Oklahoma City stood on the Senate floor and demanded an apology from the politically conservative Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs for a tweet that “abused the character of one of my colleagues.”
The tweet, put out on social media by Trent England, OCPA’s vice president of strategic initiatives, took a shot at state Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud, for coming out against the bill favored by the majority of the Senate members of his party.
The tweet told Smalley not to worry because the National Education Association and Planned Parenthood “(have) got your back.”
Smalley was upset by the personal nature of the attack.
“For me, I wear a pearl on my lapel to symbolize the loss of my daughter last year,” Smalley said. “For anybody to insinuate that I support Planned Parenthood and the choice of birth is just ridiculous.”
OCPA quickly removed the tweet and apologized for its actions — not just to Smalley, but the entire Republican caucus.