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Local & Regional

Many Oklahoma Employees Get Raises Despite Salary Freeze

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KWGS News File Photo
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Thousands of Oklahoma state employees received pay raises last year and thousands more were hired despite warnings of an approaching budget shortfall and a personnel freeze ordered by Gov. Mary Fallin.

The Oklahoman reports in a copyright story that the freeze included exceptions when justification could be shown.

State officials say the raises were needed to keep high-quality employees from taking jobs in the private sector or with the federal government and that because agencies were downsized, the savings were used to reward remaining workers who are asked to do more.

Fallin said the freeze was meant to be flexible and that she believes it prevented unnecessary spending.

The state faces an estimated $1 billion hole in next year's budget and agencies have been ordered to cut budgets by 3 percent.