State Senators Debbe Leftwich and Harry Coates called on the Construction Industries Board (CIB) to remove Jerry Regier as the agency’s Interim Director. Regier was hired last week – a move the two legislators believe to be pointless.
"Senator Coates and I are adamantly opposed to the board hiring an interim director. There is no logical reason why they shouldn’t have hired a permanent director. They’re wasting time and money," said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City. "We believe the board made an interim position to help Regier, a former CIB director, start drawing state retirement. That’s unfair to the other applicants, and it wasn’t a responsible move by the board.”
According to the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), Regier would not be eligible for state retirement without getting back on the state payroll. According to records, he requested a retirement calculation from OPERS on June 25 and was then hired by CIB on June 30.
"I’m so sick of the good ‘ole boy system. This is a clear case of an agency losing sight of their responsibilities and bending the rules to help a friend. They wasted several months only to hire someone who will be there temporarily and then they’ll have to go through the whole hiring process again and train a new person," said Coates, R-Seminole. "As a taxpayer, I’m sick of all the unscrupulous actions of state officials who do things such as this to help their friends. We have to do what we can to rid our state government of inefficient practices and this is a blatant example of one. It’s just not acceptable."
If Regier had not been put back on the state payroll, he would have only been eligible to receive his personal contributions into the state retirement system. By CIB hiring Regier, they have unnecessarily cost the taxpayers an additional minimum of $1,236 per month to fund his retirement.
The board will next meet on July 17, and Senators Leftwich and Coates strongly urge them to hire a permanent director from their list of local qualified applicants.