Evaluation of Oklahoma state website

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Ok.gov is the website for the state of Oklahoma.

Website evaluation

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Budget
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Usability
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Elected Officials
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Administrative Officials
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Ethics
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Audits
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Contracts
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Lobbying P
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Public records P
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Taxes
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Transparency grading process


This website was reviewed on January 23, 2012.

The good

  • Elected officials[1] and legislators are listed with contact information.[2]
  • The state has a transparency website.[3]
  • State agencies are listed, with contact information available on their pages.[4]
  • Budgets are posted.[5]
  • Audits are posted.[6]
  • Tax information is available.[7]
  • Ethics information is posted.[8]
  • Lobbyist lists and reports are posted.[9]
  • Statewide contracts are posted in a searchable database.[10]

The bad

U.S. PIRG rating

The U.S. PIRG rated the state website a "C+" on providing online access to government spending data, with a score of 78 out of 100.[12]

The scorecard that U.S. PIRG uses has 13 items and focuses on a separate state website that is searchable at the checkbook level. Sunshine Review, on the other hand, focuses on the availability of separate spending-related items; they do not need to be in a central database.

Item Possible points Notes
Checkbook-level website 30 Detailed expenditure information, including individual payments made to vendors.
Search by vendor 8 Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by contractor or vendor name.
Search by keyword of activity 8 Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by type of service or item purchased, category, or government fund.
Search by agency or departments 8 Ability to search checkbook-level expenditures by branch of government.
Contract or summary information 10 A copy of the contract or detailed summary information is included for the expenditures.
Historical expenditures 5 Checkbook-level expenditure data from previous fiscal years.
Grants and economic development incentives information 10 Awardee-specific grants and/or economic development incentives are included in the checkbook tool or elsewhere with specific award amounts.
Downloadable 3 Information can be downloaded for data analysis.
Tax expenditure reports 10 The state's tax expenditure report is linked on the website.
Off-budget agencies 2 Expenditures from quasi-public agencies are included on the website.
City and county budgets 2 Financial information for some local governments is accessible.
ARRA Funding 2 A link is provided to the state's website that tracks funding related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Feedback 2 Website users are capable and encouraged to give feedback about the site.

There are several similarities between the checklists. For both checklists, the searchability of information factors in to how usability is rated. Both checklists have an item relating to contracts, tax information, and the budget. The U.S. PIRG requires information for quasi public entities; Sunshine Review requires information on lobbying, which includes quasi public entities' lobbying activity.

Unlike the Sunshine Review checklist with each check worth one point, different items on the U.S. PIRG checklist merit more or fewer points, depending on the item.

State Integrity Investigation

The 2012 State Integrity Investigation graded state ethics laws according to an "Integrity Index." The index was created by researching 330 "Integrity Indicators" across 14 categories of state government. The report assigned grades based on what laws are on the books, and whether or not they were effectively enforced. The report was a project of The Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity, and Public Radio International.[13]

Oklahoma received an overall grade of D, or 64%. It ranked 38 out of the 50 states.[14]

Category Grade
Public Access to Information F
Political Financing C+
Executive Accountability D
Legislative Accountability D-
Judicial Accountability C-
State Budget Processes F
State Civil Service Management D+
Procurement A
Internal Auditing B-
Lobbying Disclosure F
State Pension Fund Management F
Ethics Enforcement Agencies D+
State Insurance Commissions D-
Redistricting F

Transparency Legislation

2011

  • The Oklahoma legislature has at least a dozen bills dealing with transparency that passed either the House or the Senate.[15]

Resources

Resource Run by Includes Year URL
Senate Audio and Video State Watch and listen to Senate 2011 http://www.oksenate.gov/news/listen.htm
Ethics State Campaign finance and lobbyist disclosure 2011 http://www.ok.gov/ethics/public/index.php
Office of State Finance State Budget info 2011 http://www.ok.gov/OSF/Budget/index.html
OK Recovery State Stimulus tracking 2011 http://www.ok.gov/recovery/
Open Book State Income and expenses 2011 http://www.ok.gov/okaa/
Follow the Money National Institute on Money in Politics Campaign contributions 2010 http://www.followthemoney.org/database/state_overview.phtml?y=2010&s=OK

Salaries

State and Local Employees

According to 2008 Census data, the state of Oklahoma and local governments in the state employed a total of 249,724 people.[16] Of those employees, 198,834 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $630,491,968 per month and 50,890 were part-time employees paid $41,674,360 per month.[16] More than 59% of those employees, or 149,326 employees, were in education or higher education.[16]

State Employee Benefits

Holidays

State employees receive the following paid holidays:[17]

  • New Year's Day
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Presidents' Day
  • Good Friday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Veterans' Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Day After Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Day

Annual Leave

Annual leave is accrued based upon years of continuous service.[18]

Accrual of annual leave:[19]

Years of Service Annual Leave annual Leave Accumulation
0-5 yrs 15 day/yr 30 days
5-10 yrs 18 day/yr 60 days
10-20 yrs 20 day/yr 60 days
over 20 yrs 25 day/yr 60 days

Sick Leave

Full-time employees accrue 15 days per year/10 hours a month.[19] There is no limit on amount that may be accrued.[18]

Insurance

Health

State employees choose among five carriers offering a total of 11 choices of plans.[20] Oklahoma state statutes require that every state employee must purchase the basic plan of health, dental, basic life, and disability, regardless of whether the employer's spouse has better coverage.[21] The bulk if not all of the premiums are covered by the generous Benefit Allowance provided to every state employee by the Oklahoma State Legislature.

Life

Basic Life Insurance includes a $20,000 life insurance policy. If an employee's death is the result of an accident, that amount will double to $40,000. Additional coverage is available at an extra cost. Guaranteed Issue Supplemental Life Insurance - A new employee, at the time they fill out their Benefit Enrollment form, can request additional Guaranteed Issue (GI) Supplemental Life Insurance.[22]

Other Benefits

  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Employee Assistance Program maintains contacts with community service providers for the purpose of networking and coordinating services to state agencies and employees.[23]

Pensions

Oklahoma has seven state-administered pension systems. Together their combined funding level for FY2008 was 60.7%, with a total liability of $33.5 billion and an unfunded liability that was 219% of total payroll.[24] The state’s actuarially required annual contribution is nearly 21% of payroll.[24]

In the late 1990s, Oklahoma’s Public Employees Retirement System’s 12.5% employer contribution rate exceeded its actuarially required contribution. The |state legislature cut the employer contribution to 10% of payroll, which allowed for raises at state agencies. The contribution rate remained steady at 10% through FY2005, while liabilities increased. In 2004 and 2005, the state’s payments amounted to less than 60% of the required contribution.[24]

A recent study by economists Joshua Rauh of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business concluded that the Oklahoma pension fund will run out of money in 2017.[25] Should the pension fund run out of money then, the cost the following year would be $3.7 billion, which would be 30% of state revenue.[26]

Funding Levels

Two of Oklahoma's plans, the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System (OTRS) and the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), have $12 billion in unfunded liabilities according to Watchdog.org in October 2010.[27]

The state's pension liabilities can be calculated in a variety of ways, which yield different numbers. Below are the numbers as calculated by to the Pew Center on the States,[28] the American Enterprise Institute[29] and Professors Robert Novy-Marx of the University of Chicago and Joshua Rauh of Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management.[30]

In Thousands
PEW (2008) AEI (2008) Kellogg (2009)
$13,172,407 $33,647,372 $30,100,000

Other information from the Pew Center on the States Feb. 2010 publication "The Trillion Dollar Gap":

State Pension Funding Levels 2008 (figures are in thousands)[24]
Latest liability Latest unfunded liability Annual required contribution Latest actual contribution
$33,527,899 $13,172,407 $1,245,646 $986,163
Underfunded pension liabilities
Number of pension plans Pension assets ($bn) Stated liabilities ($bn) Funding status (% of tax revenue)
4 $12 $32.3 -516%

This data is based on projected data from 2008 census data.[31] In 2008, $1.94 trillion was set aside for pensions, but it is estimated that states have $5.17 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

Rate of Return

Oklahoma presumes a 8.00% return rate on its pension investments.[24]

Contribution Rates

Teachers contribute seven percent of their regular annual compensation.[32]

Public Records

The Oklahoma Open Records Act is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Open Meetings Act legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted.

To learn more about how to make a public records request in this state, please see: Oklahoma FOIA procedures.

External links

References

  1. OK.gov, "Elected Officials," accessed January 23, 2012 (dead link)
  2. OK.gov, "Legislative Branch," accessed January 23, 2012
  3. OK.gov, "OpenBooks," accessed January 23, 2012
  4. OK.gov, "State Agencies," accessed January 23, 2012
  5. OK.gov, "Budget Books," accessed January 23, 2012
  6. OK.gov, "Financial Reporting," accessed January 23, 2012
  7. OK.gov, "Tax Commission," accessed January 23, 2012
  8. OK.gov, "Ethics Commission," accessed January 23, 2012
  9. OK.gov, "Lobbyist Reporting System," accessed January 23, 2012
  10. Ohio.gov, "Statewide Contracts," accessed January 23, 2012 (dead link)
  11. OK.gov, "Search: Open Records," accessed January 23, 2012
  12. US PIRG, Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, March 14, 2012
  13. "50 states and no winners," State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  14. Oklahoma Corruption Risk Report Card, State Integrity Investigation, StateIntegrity.org
  15. "NEWS OK" Sunshine Week: Government transparency bills pass first big hurdle in Oklahoma Legislature March, 19 2011
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 2008 Oklahoma Public Employment U.S. Census Data
  17. Holidays
  18. 18.0 18.1 Oklahoma State Department of Health Benefits
  19. 19.0 19.1 Annual Leave Accumulation
  20. Benefits (dead link)
  21. Frequently Asked Questions - Benefits (dead link)
  22. Benefits for Oklahoma State Department of Health
  23. EAP
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 Pew Center on the States "The Trillion Dollar Gap" Feb. 2010
  25. New Mexico, Study: NM state pension plan will run out of money in 13 years, Sept. 9, 2010
  26. Yahoo! Finance “11 state Pension Funds That May Run Out of Money Oct. 18, 2010
  27. Oklahoma Watchdog, The Coming Explosion of Oklahoma’s Pension Bomb, Oct. 14, 2010
  28. "State Pensions and Retiree Healthcare Benefits: The Trillion Dollar Gap,” Pew Center on the States, accessed January 4, 2011
  29. Biggs, Andrew, “The Market Value of Public-Sector Pension Deficits,” AEI Outlook Series, no. 1 (2010)
  30. Novy-Marx, Robert and Joshua Rauh, 2010, "Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are They Worth," Journal of Finance (forthcoming)
  31. Northwestern University, The Liabilities and Risks of State-Sponsored Pension Plans, May 2010
  32. Oklahoma Teacher Retirement System FAQ's