The McCarville Report
Category archives for: State Government

Teacher Pay Hikes Proposed

Across-the-board pay hikes for teachers are contemplated:

State Signs License Agreement With Chickasaw Nation

Governor Fallin and Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby today announced that the state and the tribe have signed a compact to offer “Chickasaw Nation” license plates to Chickasaw citizens. The photo shows the signing event.

Anoatubby said that many Chickasaw citizens have requested license plates which recognize their tribal citizenship.

“We are very pleased to work with the state to offer Chickasaw Nation license plates,” said Anoatubby. “These tags offer Chickasaw citizens a very visible way to demonstrate their pride in being Chickasaw, while keeping vehicle tag funding for schools, roads, state employee retirement, wildlife conservation and other state programs intact.”

Fallin said the compact is another example of the state of Oklahoma working together with the Chickasaw Nation on a project which benefits both the tribe and the state.

“The Chickasaw Nation and the state of Oklahoma are partners on issues as diverse as health care, transportation and education,” said Fallin. “This is another example of our successful working partnership. We are pleased to be able to now offer Chickasaw license plates for tribal members to showcase their proud heritage.”

Under the compact, Chickasaw tags will be sold exclusively at state-licensed tag agencies across Oklahoma. Chickasaws who want to purchase the tags will present their Chickasaw Nation citizenship card and pay the same fees and taxes any other Oklahoman would pay.

After the transaction, the Chickasaw Nation will issue a rebate for a portion of the fees and taxes to each citizen purchasing a tag.

The Chickasaw Nation has designed the tag and is now working with the Oklahoma Tax Commission to finalize plans for its manufacture.

OPERS Board Secures Fox In ED Position

The board of trustees of the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) has selected Joseph A. Fox as its new executive director effective November 1, 2014. The board had previously named Fox as its interim executive director.

Fox fills the vacancy created by the resignation of Tom Spencer who is becoming the executive director of the Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System.

“The OPERS Board is very happy with its selection of Joe as executive director,” said OPERS Board Chair DeWayne McAnally. “The search committee met and discussed the possibilities at length, and after many consultations with outside sources and OPERS staff, Joe became the clear choice.”

Fox has served as general counsel of OPERS since 2005, after serving as legal counsel for the Oklahoma House of Representatives for many years, including general counsel for former Speaker of the House Larry Adair.

McAnally added, “This is a critical time for OPERS as it is focusing on implementing a new defined contribution retirement plan in 2015. The agency needs strong and enduring leadership, and the board feels Joe provides that continuity.”

OPERS serves more than 81,000 active and retired members and manages more than $8.5 billion in assets.

Fallin Approves Huge Pay Increases

The Oklahoman

While boards and commissions generally set pay hikes, Gov. Mary Fallin personally has given substantial raises to state agency directors.

Fallin raised the pay for Oklahoma’s secretary of state by $50,000 when she appointed Chris Benge to the position a year ago. Benge is paid $140,000 a year. His predecessor was paid $90,000.

The governor approved an even larger $63,833 a year raise for Preston Doerflinger, director of the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services. She bumped his annual pay in July from $108,000 to $171,833.

Both raises were larger than any of the 48 agency director pay hikes approved by state boards and commissions that prompted the governor to express skepticism earlier this week. Thirty of those raises were $10,000 or more.

Salary Increases Raise Eyebrows

A new report shows some state agency leaders have received huge pay increases and Governor Fallin, among others, voices concern that all of them may not have been warranted:

Jason Murphey: You Succeed Or You Don’t

Rep. Jason Murphey examines the role model of the state’s highest-paid employee:

Fallin Names Joe Vandevier To GRDA

Governor’s Office

Governor Fallin today announced the appointment of Joseph “Joe” Vandevier to the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA). He replaces Allen Wright, whose term expired.

Vandevier, of Owasso, will serve a five-year term ending in August 2019, and will represent industrial and commercial customers.

He is the founder and current managing member of Downhole Dynamics, a company that provides business and technical consulting for enhanced production in the oil and gas industry.

“Joe Vandevier’s experience in management, business development and engineering brings a valuable perspective to the GRDA,” said Fallin. “His leadership and dedication will serve the GRDA and its members well.”

Vandevier has worked in a variety of key roles in the oil and gas industry for the last 40 years. He was vice president of operations in the U.S., Canada and Russia for Centrilift. He also served as president and chief operating officer of Wood Group ESP, and as a senior adviser for Baker Hughes. Vandevier was also the president of ProductionQuest, a business branch of Baker Hughes.

He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and is an inventor or co-inventor listed on 21 U.S. patents and foreign patents associated with electric submersible pumps and production systems.

Vandevier received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Tulsa. He is a member of the University of Tulsa College of Engineering Hall of Fame for his contributions in the field of academic support, community service and professional achievement.

Thomsen, Denney Hit Cox Over High Salary


Democrat schools superintendent candidate John Cox is superintendent of one of the smallest K-8 school districts in Oklahoma, but earns $141,678 per year which is nearly twice the state average for an administrator while teachers there are paid less than the state average.

The figures released come from the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability, but Reps. Todd Thomsen and Lee Denney say the total Cox compensation costs could be significantly more than reported.

“While teachers are struggling statewide, John Cox is earning an astronomical amount for an administrator of a K-8 school district where he manages 13 or so teachers. I was surprised when I saw his contract, and there are additional costs above and beyond his salary,” Denney said.

“This is very hypocritical for a candidate for state superintendent to pay his teachers under the state average and below districts the same size while he’s campaigning at the same time for teacher pay raises. His 20 year record doesn’t match his performance, and then to be earning such a large salary for himself is disappointing,.” she said.

Thomsen, part of the state House leadership said, “Every parent and teacher in rural Oklahoma, and across the state, should be outraged. He’s gaming the system.”

Thomsen, of Ada, and Denney, of Cushing, both represent districts with rural schools and say these are the real victims of administrators like Cox. “We want our local schools to thrive, but how can they when an administrator like John Cox games the system? It puts all of the school administrators in a negative light and is frankly just an insult to teachers,” Thomsen said.

“This hefty contract comes at the expense of students and teachers,” Thomsen said.

The state average salary for school administrators is $76,424 compared to Cox’s $141,678 salary, according to the office of Educational Quality and Accountability*. But the average number of teachers statewide per district is 71.2 compared to 13.3 teachers in Peggs. The state average number of enrolled students per district is 1271 while Peggs’ enrollment is 264.

McCarville: The Thud Heard ‘Round The State


The Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce has fired a political shot that has landed with a…thud.

The Chamber’s endorsement of Republican Senator Josh Brecheen’s Democrat opponent has his allies, conservatives and Common Core opponents fired up and speaking out.

When The McCarville Report reported the action earlier today, social media fired up, with the comments anything but kind to the Chamber.

While the Chamber has not yet responded to TMR’s request for elaboration, it appears logical to assume the action comes in part because Brecheen was a leader in stopping Common Core, a program the Chamber has ardently supported, and because he opposed other Chamber initiatives, particularly those associated with the oil and gas iudustry. The Chamber did endorse Rep. Jason Nelson, who with Brecheen authored the measure that stopped Common Core. In outlining the State Chamber’s opposition to Brecheen, president and CEO Fred Morgan did not mention Common Core. (See story above.)

TMR has asked the Chamber’s spokesman for elaboration on the decision not to endorse Brecheen.

National commentators including Glenn Beck, David Bartin (Wallbuilders) and Michelle Malkin (FOX News Contributor) have all commented on the national role he played in the fight against Common Core in which Oklahoma was at the tip of the arrow.  He led the fight in the Senate to stop Common Core in 2014 and as the Senate author of HB 3399 he and Rep. Jason Nelson put forth the first and most thorough safeguard against Common Core in the nation, thereby guarding schools against increased federal control and emboldening other states to follow suit. Oklahoma’s model legislation is currently being emulated.

He has the sixth highest overall conservative rating in the State Senate after four legislative sessions (2011, 2012, 2013 AND 2014).  After four legislative sessions, he earns a 100% rating from the Oklahoma National Federation of Independent Business owners Brecheen also earns a cumulative 90% rating by the Research Institute for Economic Development for his votes since taking office.
Rep. Paul Wesselhoft said the State Chamber earlier endorsed his (Republican) opponent to no avail.

Murphey: Water Injection And Earthquakes

Rep Jason Murphey

I suspect most readers still remember the sensation of feeling their first earthquake. For those of us who have spent a lifetime in Oklahoma, this experience occurred just three years ago. Since that time, we have encountered hundreds of quakes which are now taking place on a daily basis. The quakes occur so frequently that it is impossible to distinguish between pre- and aftershocks since the rumblings have merged into a continuous, ongoing action.

On June 26, I joined with State Representative Lewis Moore in hosting a town hall meeting at Waterloo Road Baptist Church. With 750 attendees, the turnout far exceeded our previous town hall meetings.

We wanted the voice of local residents to be heard and attendees to learn from officials from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission about the state’s new policies relating to the permitting of wastewater injection wells.

Many have become concerned after a correlation has been shown between seismic activity and wastewater injection. To address the issue, Governor Fallin approved new administrative rules which allow the Commission to take into account the proximity of these wells to fault lines before awarding a permit, and for real-time data monitoring of those sites which are already permitted.

These rules have taken effect since the time of the town hall meeting and state officials are now able to collect and analyze the data from the injection sites which share proximity with quakes. If that data shows a correlation, the state will be positioned to scale back the correlational injection activity.

Since that meeting, I am one of two representatives who has secured approval for a legislative hearing on this issue.

That hearing will take place on October 28th.

We will receive updated testimony from the Corporation Commission and the Oklahoma Geological Survey regarding the ongoing implementation of the new rules and the analytics of the new daa.

I have been impressed by, and appreciative of, the efforts of commission officials and their willingness to testify at the legislative hearing and the town hall meeting. They have responded to the unprecedented seismic activity with a deliberative but responsible professionalism and have answered every question.

Specifically, Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy has shown a strong interest in this subject. She attended the town hall meeting to hear the concerns of attendees, and plans to take part in the legislative hearing.

I have also appreciated the massive and overwhelming input from area residents. Your calls and emails have provided me with the standing to give public voice to your concerns.

Please continue to send your thoughts and concerns about this issue.

Thank you for reading this article. Your interest and input are much appreciated. Please do not hesitate to email with your thoughts and suggestions.

gopad2Paid for by the Oklahoma Republican Party. Not authorized​ by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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