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.
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.
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.
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 Jason.Murphey@hd31.org with your thoughts and suggestions.
Revenue collections during September grew by more than 8 percent over receipts from the same month of the prior year, the highest monthly growth rate since April of last year, State Treasurer Ken Miller announced today as he released the September Gross Receipts to the Treasury report during a State Capitol news conference.
September gross receipts topped $1 billion, and are more than $80 million, or 8.2 percent, higher than collections in September of last year. Gross receipts from the last 12 months pushed further into record high territory, surpassing $11.9 billion at a growth rate of more than 5 percent.
“As a measure of economic activity, September Gross Receipts to the Treasury indicate healthy expansion in Oklahoma,” Miller said. “Any month where you see all major revenue categories in positive territory is a good one. Coupled with an expanding business conditions index and low unemployment, this month is nothing but good news.”
On the monthly measurement, all revenue streams show growth, ranging from more than 18 percent in motor vehicle taxes to almost 2 percent in corporate income collections. The 12-month picture shows growth in all categories except for corporate income, which remains down by almost 11 percent from the prior 12-month period.
The two largest revenue categories, sales tax and gross income taxes, expanded by almost 5 percent and 8 percent respectively during the month. The gross production tax on oil and natural gas is up by almost 12 percent for the month and more than 16 percent for the 12 months.
Oklahoma’s unemployment rate continues to reflect the state’s relatively strong economic condition compared to the nation as a whole with the August jobless rate set at 4.7 percent compared to the U.S. rate of 6.1 percent.
The Oklahoma business conditions index for September rose to 58 from 54 in August, indicating expanding economic conditions in the next several months. Numbers above 50 are indicative of future economic growth.
The gross receipts report for September sets gross collections at $1.09 billion, up $82.54 million or 8.2 percent from September 2013.
Gross income tax collections, a combination of personal and corporate income taxes, generated $425.17 million, an, increase of $31.14 million or 7.9 percent from the previous September.
Personal income tax collections for the month are $320.25 million, up $29.16 million or 10 percent from the prior year. Corporate collections are $104.92 million, up by $1.97 million or 1.9 percent.
Sales tax collections, including remittances on behalf of cities and counties, total $382.1 million in September. That is $17.45 million or 4.8 percent above September of last year.
Gross production taxes on oil and natural gas generated $77.92 million in September, an increase of $8.23 million or 11.8 percent from last September. Compared to August reports, gross production collections are up by $2.59 million or 3.4 percent.
Motor vehicle taxes produced $65.72 million for the month, up by $10.17 million or 18.3 percent from the prior year.
Other collections, consisting of about 60 different sources including taxes on fuel, tobacco, horse race gambling and alcoholic beverages, produced $139.16 million during the month. That is $15.56 million or 12.6 percent more than last September.
Gross revenue totals $11.91 billion during the October 2013-September 2014 period. That is $577.74 million or 5.1 percent higher than collections from the previous 12-month period.
Gross income taxes generated $4.22 billion for the period, reflecting an increase of $89.69 million or 2.2 percent from the prior 12 months.
Personal income tax collections total $3.68 billion, up by $155.77 million or 4.4 percent from the prior 12 months. Corporate collections are $543.42 million for the period, a drop of $66.09 million or 10.8 percent from the previous period.
Sales taxes for the period generated $4.39 billion, an increase of $150.33 million or 3.5 percent from the prior 12 months.
Oil and gas gross production tax collections brought in $885.2 million during the 12 months, up by $123.11 million or 16.2 percent from the previous period.
Motor vehicle collections total $803.36 million for the period. This is an increase of $127.36 million or 18.8 percent from the trailing 12 months.
Other sources generated $1.61 billion, up $87.26 million or 5.7 percent from the previous 12 months.
Rep. Lewis Moore appears to have sent a multi-candidate campaign fundraiser appeal from his state email account.
Asked about it by The McCarville Report, Moore, apologized and said, “If I did send out a fundraising notice it was inadvertent and a mistake. I have been working on several work projects and the Town Hall meeting last night from my home and on my personal laptop when it occurred. I am upset and embarrassed that it happened. I’ve apologized to my colleagues, the Speaker and have asked the House IT department to see how this could be avoided in the future. I’ve also notified the Ethics Commission and explained the situation to them as well.”
The email, sent Thursday afternoon and including a flyer listing the candidates, shows to be from Moore’s “okhouse.gov” account and the subject is “Invite to candidate fundraiser!”
The candidates listed are Moore, Mike Christian, Dan Kirby, Aaron Stiles, Leslie Obsorn, Jon Echols and Justin Wood.
State law reads (in part):
257:10-1-3. Use of public funds, property, time, and personnel to influence elections
A person shall not use or authorize the use of public funds, property, or time, to participate or assist in the organization of or preparation for a fundraiser for a campaign or in any solicitation of funds for or against a candidate for state office or a ballot measure.
The Arcadia Republican’s email includes the official House disclaimer at the bottom.
“Lewis H. Moore” <Lewis.Moore@okhouse.gov
October 2, 2014 at 4:55:41 PM CDT
Subject: Invite to candidate fundraiser !
NOTICE: The information in this email is confidential, legally privileged, and exempt from disclosure under law. It is intended solely for the addressee. Access to this email by anyone else is
unauthorized. If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it, is prohibited and unlawful.The Oklahoma House of Reps does not warrant any e-mail transmission received as being virus free, and disclaims any liability for losses or damages arising from the use of this e-mail or its attachments. Recipients of e-mail assume the risk of possible computer virus exposure by opening or utilizing the e-mail and its attachments, and waive any right or recourse against the House by doing so.