Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: July 21, 2008
Sen. Debbe Leftwich
Sen. Harry Coates
Legislators Angered by Action of
Construction Industries Board; Consider Audit
Senate Business and
Labor Committee co-chairs, Senators Debbe
Leftwich and Harry
Coates, are furious with the actions taken by the Construction
Industries Board (CIB) Thursday during its July meeting and are
considering requesting an audit of the agency. The legislators,
while pleased to see a permanent administrator hired, were
disappointed by the board’s decision to retain Jerry Regier as the
board’s Interim Administrator.
“We’re glad to see the board finally make a decision on a permanent
director. Maybe now they can get on with the business at hand,” said
Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City.
Coates said he was appalled by the CIB’s willingness to waste the
taxpayers’ and industry’s money especially during such uncertain
“This is a clear manipulation of our state’s retirement system. It
has allowed a bureaucrat to tap into the state’s retirement system
at a time when we can’t afford to provide state employees a raise
nor retired educators an adequate cost-of-living increase,” said
Coates, R-Seminole. “We believe that the actions of the CIB are a
textbook case of governmental sprawl that occurs when we create new
agencies and don’t provide adequate oversight. If the CIB has enough
money to make these kinds of hiring decisions, perhaps they should
consider reducing the costs of licenses for Oklahoma’s hardworking
trades people and contractors.”
The legislators were also bothered by the turnout for the meeting.
In 2007, Coates authored SB 2131, effective July 1 of this month, to
decrease the number of board members from eleven to seven in order
to ensure that most, if not all, of the members attended the monthly
meetings. The pair, therefore, did not understand why only five
board members were present for such an important vote for the agency
regarding the immediate firing of Regier. The final vote was 3 to 2
to keep Regier. The legislators questioned why two of the members
did not show up for the job they were appointed to do and were
concerned that they were possibly persuaded, by those who favored
Regier’s continued employment, to not attend the meeting in order to
ensure the outcome of the vote.
Since bringing the actions of the CIB to light earlier this month,
the legislators have received numerous emails and phone calls from
state employees and private citizens concerned about the situation.
Based on the information they are receiving, Leftwich and Coates
believe an audit may be in order.
“Since this whole thing started, several people have contacted our
offices and brought forth alarming information. We believe it’s in
the best interest of the state and, quite frankly, the new director
for us to request a performance audit of the CIB,” said Leftwich.
Coates further said the situation has brought to light the need for
greater oversight and possibly new laws to help prevent such
inappropriate hiring practices among state agencies in the future.
He pointed out that the previous administrator was fired in November
giving the board seven months to consider applicants for the
permanent position and then chose to hire both a temporary and
permanent administrator within two weeks – a situation Coates
believes stemmed from a lack of proper oversight.
“We still believe that Mr. Regier and others orchestrated his hiring
solely for the purpose of making him eligible to draw state
retirement. It’s just too strange - they claimed they needed a
temporary administrator because of the backlog of work. Obviously
they were behind because they took way too long to fill the
position. And why did it take them so long when they had so many
highly-qualified applicants?” said Coates. “We find it ironic that
within a week of the situation being exposed, they were able to hire
a permanent administrator. This whole mess has made us realize that
besides requesting an audit, we also need to look at our state laws
to see how we can prevent these types of shenanigans from happening
in the future. At the very least we’re going to keep a closer eye on
For more information
Sen. Leftwich's Office: (405) 521-5557
Sen. Coates' Office: (405) 521-5547