Patrick B. McGuigan
A press release from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, circulated by communications director Matt Skinner, has chided state Rep. Eric Proctor of Tulsa for distributing “erroneous information” in a Wednesday press release.
In a House staff press release this week on behalf of the Democrat legislator, an assertion was made that commissioners “will be receiving a raise of over $8,000 in compensation.”
The Commission release, however, observed three counterpoints:
“1) By law, Corporation Commissioners cannot accept a pay raise during their current term.
“2) The Oklahoma legislature has final authority regarding Commissioner compensation.
“3) The legislature has not approved a salary increase for Commissioners.”
Also, the release form Skinner said, “1) As enacted by the legislature, state law stipulates that the state Corporation Commissioners’ salary be identical to that received by an Oklahoma associate district judge in counties with a population of over 30,000. 2) Recommendations to the legislature regarding associate district judges salaries are made by the Board of Judicial Compensation. The Commission has no input or involvement of any kind in the process. 3) Again, the state legislature has the final authority regarding such compensation.”
In criticizing a six percent pay increase for the commissioners, Rep. Proctor had asserted, "The Oklahoma Corporation Commission was created to be a watchdog, protecting senior citizens and hard-working Oklahoma families from unjust increases in utility bills. However, the current corporation commissioners are more like lap dogs for utility companies, who rubber-stamp residential utility rate hikes.”
With the increase pegged to judicial compensation, commissioners now are paid $121,596 a year.