Governor Kevin Stitt signed civil service reform, House Bill 1146, into law today, implementing another pillar of the People’s Agenda. HB 1146 will modernize and reform the state’s civil service system by taking the handcuffs off state agencies, consolidating administrative human resource functions under the state’s central Human Capital Management Division, and doing away with the outdated and broken merit protection program.
“Oklahoma just took one major step forward towards becoming a Top Ten state,” said Governor Stitt. “For four decades, agency leaders’ hands have been tied in retaining top talent, and men and women across state government have been stuck in an outdated system that has prevented them from being rewarded like they deserve. Today, that all changes. We now have the flexibility we need to serve Oklahomans more effectively.”
In his 2021 State of the State address, Governor Stitt told the story of Cody, a hardworking state employee who, despite doing work outside of his title and job description, was repeatedly denied a promotion because of the state’s broken system.
“There are men and women like Cody across state government -- talented, dedicated to serving our state, and stuck in an outdated system that keeps them from being rewarded like they deserve,” Stitt stated during the address.
“Modernizing the state’s human resources structure is a long-time coming and will have a positive impact on the delivery of state services. These changes give workers employment protections while empowering agency directors with the ability to hire and competitively pay top-performing employees and fire those who fail to deliver,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R-Oklahoma City).
“The unsexiest big deal of the year is done, signed and law. Get ready for a transformed state government run by a workforce freed from red tape and designed to perform at its very best. The workforce has changed a lot in the 40 years since the state’s old merit system came into existence, and today government is finally catching up with a newer, better, smarter approach for the next generation. I’m proud of the years of work put into this bill by all stakeholder groups, both legislative chambers and Governor Stitt. Let’s get to work,” said Rep. Mike Osburn (R-Edmond) who authored HB 1146.
“These reforms will provide the state with similar tools the private sector utilizes when recruiting new talent to work at and lead state agencies. The business community supports this reorganization and modernization as it will provide the business community with more efficiency and effectiveness within state government.” – Chad Warmington, Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce