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State Agency Job Cuts Likely, OMES HR Head Says

Lucinda Meltabarger is administrator of human capital management for the Office of Management and Enterprise Services.
Brent Fuchs
/
The Journal Record
Lucinda Meltabarger is administrator of human capital management for the Office of Management and Enterprise Services.

The state agency in charge of human resources is expected to make job cuts soon.

The Office of Management and Enterprise Services' Lucinda Meltabarger is reviewing reduction in force (RIF) plans. She’s trying to confirm that other state departments’ plans to staff their agencies with a budget at least $1.3 million smaller than this year make fiscal sense and are legally sound. 

She told The Journal Record’s Brian Brus she sees employees being offered voluntary buyouts or put on furloughs., with other employees taking on the extra work:

When those jobs can’t be efficiently absorbed, just as many outsourcing plans will come her way – printing jobs, information technology and janitorial services are good examples. Sometimes it’s less expensive to let a private company handle resource management or tech upgrades, Meltabarger said. In a better economy, profit motive is equally likely to invert the equation. “We have, in recent years, seen the state look more closely at outsourcing opportunities, and we’ve definitely done that in different agencies,” she said. “We’ve also seen a lot of internal outsourcing, where we have particular groups take up jobs for other agencies. In mine, for example, I have human resources and payroll employees who are handling those functions for 66 other agencies.”

The head of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association, Sterling Zearly, said he has heard RIFs are on the way, and he called on legislators to start working on a budget so state agencies can prepare for the future of their jobs, Brus reports:

“Since no plan has been presented, there’s no way to prepare for that,” Zearley said. “State agency staffs are desperately working to find ways to provide services despite the cuts,” he said. “Lawmakers appear to be doing very little to help offset the budget hole, and we don’t see legislators with the same sense of urgency as seen in state employees and consumers of services.”

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