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Oklahoma House advances bill to give state park rangers a 15% raise

Oklahoma lawmakers are considering giving park rangers a pay raise in an effort to bolster retention.
Kyle Phillips
For Oklahoma Voice
Oklahoma lawmakers are considering giving park rangers a pay raise in an effort to bolster retention.

House members on Monday advanced a measure that would give the state’s lowest-paid law enforcement officers a raise.

Under House Bill 3787, authored by Rep. John George, R-Newalla, Oklahoma’s park rangers would receive a 15% raise beginning July 1.

The average park ranger salary is $43,522 a year, according to the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. A 15% increase would boost that annual salary by about $6,500.

George said the turnover rate of the state’s park rangers was slightly over 50% the last two years, which is extremely high.

“You can’t have a turnover rate like that,” he said. “That’s not good. They’re also short staffed.”

George said it’s expensive to train new employees.

The raise would cost taxpayers about $408,000 a year, according to a fiscal analysis.

“They’re our lowest paid state law enforcement officers. This will put them up to the next to the lowest paid,” George said.

The bill passed 88-1. The measure heads to the Senate.

Oklahoma Voice is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Oklahoma Voice maintains editorial independence.

Barbara Hoberock is a senior reporter with Oklahoma Voice. She began her career in journalism in 1989 after graduating from Oklahoma State University. She began with the Claremore Daily Progress and then started working in 1990 for the Tulsa World. She has covered the statehouse since 1994 and served as Tulsa World Capitol Bureau chief. She covers statewide elected officials, the legislature, agencies, state issues, appellate courts and elections.
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