Stitt announces first executive orders

Governor Kevin Stitt announced today (Thursday, Jan. 24) four new executive orders that focus on increasing transparency, accountability, and efficiency in state government.

“My commitment is to get to the bottom of every dollar spent by state government and ensure every hard-earned tax dollar matches the mission and values of Oklahomans,” said Gov. Stitt. “These executive orders will help us achieve my administration’s mission through the restructuring of the governor’s cabinet, enforcing transparency on the use of contract lobbyists by state agencies, and giving agency leaders more flexibility to restructure staff within the confines of their budgets.”

The executive orders issued by Gov. Stitt are as follows:

Cabinet Executive Order:

Gov. Stitt’s first executive order creates his administration’s official cabinet and assigns various agencies, commissions and boards to each cabinet secretary. The cabinet will consist of 15 positions, with a few operating in a volunteer capacity.

Changes made to the cabinet structure include:

· The Secretary of Finance is now divided into three positions focused on agency accountability, transparency, and modernization. The responsibilities of this role will now be spread across the following titles: Secretary of Agency Accountability, Secretary of Budget, and Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration.

· The Secretary of Health and Human Services is now divided into two positions. The Stitt administration will have a Secretary of Health and Mental Health and a Secretary of Human Services and Early Childhood Initiatives.

· The Secretary of Education will be rolled into the Secretary of State’s title so that this cabinet position can focus on the holistic picture of education while pursuing a collaborative relationship with the elected State Superintendent.

· The Secretary of Tourism and Commerce position is now divided into two secretaries, with Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell serving on the cabinet as Secretary of Tourism and Branding and with a second cabinet position created that couples workforce development with job recruitment under the Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development.

Agency Transparency on Contract Lobbyists Executive Order:

After learning that information is not readily available or accessible around contracts state agencies are entering into with outside lobbyists, Gov. Stitt formed this executive order to require all agencies, boards and commissions to submit a list of every contract lobbyist hired and the amount of each contract. He has requested this information for any contracts from 2015 to the present day. While documents are being produced, this executive order places a freeze on agencies, board, and commissions from entering into new contracts with outside lobbyists or extending current contract agreements.

Agency Employee Reform Executive Order:

This executive order maintains the hiring freeze on state employees as it pertains to classified positions. However, the executive order lifts the hiring freeze on unclassified positions in agencies so long as agencies remain within their budgets.

This order reduces excessive paperwork and gives agency leaders flexibility to reform and modernize their workforce to meet the current mission of agencies to deliver core services and to anticipate future needs.

The order on classified employees remains in effect due to the difficulty to dissolve these positions no matter how outdated the practice or how unnecessary the function the position services. While some classified positions may be necessary in the future, Gov. Stitt is first asking his cabinet secretaries to focus on a full review of their agency, boards, and commissions to help identify needs for each entity to deliver services effectively and efficiently.

Selling the State’s Private Plane Servicing the Governor Executive Order:

Under this executive order, Gov. Stitt instructs the Commissioner of Public Safety to sell the King Air, a private plane servicing the governor. The governor will continue to travel the state and will be reviewing more cost-efficient ways to get out to communities in all 77 counties.

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