Steele’s agency consolidation moves to Senate

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published 03-Mar-2011

According to House staff, in a press release to CapitolBeatOK, “Right-sizing state government took a step closer to becoming a reality. House Bill 2140, which proposes to consolidate the shared services of several of Oklahoma’s central service state agencies, passed the House of Representatives today [Thursday, March 3] and is now headed to the Senate.”

In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, House Speaker Kris Steele, a Shawnee Republican, said, “Oklahoma, as a state, must reform the way we do business. To fulfill our responsibilities, we should reevaluate our delivery of public services. That means identifying avenues to achieve greater efficiencies and being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

Steele authored legislation that could save millions of dollars each year if Oklahoma implements policies already used in other states.

“This legislation initiates the important process of consolidating a series of state agencies, saving millions of taxpayer dollars which are currently wasted through inefficient processes, and provides a one-stop process by which state employees can have quick and efficient access to the state’s shared services,” said Rep. Jason Murphey, a Guthrie Republican who has ramrodded his party’s efforts in the area over the past year.

Under HB 2140, several shared functions of the Department of Central Services, Office of Personnel Management, Oklahoma Merit Protection Commission, Oklahoma State Employees Benefits Council and Oklahoma State and Education Employees Group Insurance Board would be streamlined while the policy-setting governance structures would remain intact and overseen by the Office of State Finance.

Steele added, “The goal is to create a structure that will establish long-term savings. The intention is to foster inter-agency cooperation and optimize our resources to better serve constituents.”

In an interview with state Capitol reporters Thursday afternoon, Speaker Steele said the drive to “right-size government” was progressing. He complimented Rep. Murphey for “doing a fantastic job with these issues.”

In her State of the State address,savings from modernization, consolidation and other steps were identified by Governor Mary Fallin as a means to help achieve a balanced budget.

Note: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report.