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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Okla. Highway Patrol troopers push for pay hike

  • OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Dozens of current and retired state troopers visited the state Capitol on Tuesday and urged legislators to revive a bill that would give them a pay raise.
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  • OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Dozens of current and retired state troopers visited the state Capitol on Tuesday and urged legislators to revive a bill that would give them a pay raise.
     
    The House and Senate unanimously approved a bill earlier this session that would give a roughly 16 percent pay hike to all Department of Public Safety employees, including about 750 troopers. But funding for the raise, which would cost about $7.3 million, was not included in a budget agreement reached by Gov. Mary Fallin and Republican leaders in the House and Senate.
     
    "It's hard to explain to the troopers how that works," said Keith Barenberg, a Delaware County-based trooper and president of the Oklahoma State Troopers Association. "It really hurts morale."
     
    The bill to increase trooper pay would boost the starting salary of a cadet from $33,192 to $38,602. Starting troopers who have completed their probation would see their pay boosted from $38,000 to $44,194.
     
    Barenberg says the agency is competing with municipal police departments, 15 of which pay officers more than state troopers. He added that five of the six states that border Oklahoma currently pay state troopers more. New Mexico is the only exception.
     
    The bill currently remains in a conference committee, but without the funding in the budget it is likely to remain there for the rest of the session. The bill was amended in the Senate to add employees from several other public safety agencies, adding to its price tag.
     
    Fallin has said she supports a broad-based study on state employee compensation during the interim. State employees have not received an across-the-board pay hike since 2006.
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