The Tulsa Transit board has approved raises for the agency's senior managers.
A recent study looking at comparable transit systems found members of Tulsa Transit's management team are paid on average 79% of what their peers across the country make. The agency will spend about $51,500 a year to bring them to 90% of market rates.
General Manager Ted Rieck said without the raises, Tulsa Transit runs the risk of losing managers with transferable skills, like its human resources, information technology and maintenance directors, as well as its chief financial officer.
"And just those four alone, if we were to lose them, that would be really devastating in our company. We need all four of them to function well," Rieck said. "And the management staff we have is very experienced, very dedicated. They've been underpaid for many years, and this is an opportunity to begin to address that."
Many of Tulsa Transit’s senior managers are women, and Rieck said not paying them more would also perpetuate pay inequity.
In fiscal year 2022, savings from decreased bus service will offset the cost of the raises. Rieck is not receiving a raise along with the rest of the management team.
Senior managers are not the only ones at Tulsa Transit getting a bump in pay.
"The board also authorized an 11% increase for union personnel. That includes drivers and mechanics, and that's approximately a $2 an hour increase for drivers," Rieck said.
The compensation study found Tulsa Transit’s pay for many positions lags significantly behind other transit agencies’ because of years of little or no raises.