- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, which includes the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, is offering voluntary buyouts to employees due to budget cuts.

DPS Commissioner Michael Thompson told employees in an email Wednesday that the “voluntary out benefits offer” is due to “challenges” presented by the budget.

The department budget was cut by 11 percent as the Legislature struggled with a state budget that at one point faced a $1.3 billion shortfall.

The buyout offer includes a one-time payment equal to 18 months of an employee’s insurance premium, a longevity payment and payment for all accrued and unused annual leave.

Thompson said DPS is already leaving 19 open positions unfilled, implementing a hiring freeze and suspending the 2017 OHP Academy.

Interested employees are asked to submit a form by June 30.

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This story has been updated to correct that the state shortfall had reached $1.3 billion, not $1.3 million.


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