During the last few months of her job, Former Tulsa District Attorney Janice Steidley doled out more than $50,000 in pay raises to four employees. The largest raise went to district manager and financial coordinator Misty Douglas, increasing her salary by about $20,000, for a total of $75,000.
According to Matt Ballard, the new district attorney, “it’s money that we don’t have going forward. This situation is infuriating. As a citizen and a taxpayer, to see public money squandered this way, it is extremely frustrating.”
Ballard, earning more than 61 percent of the vote, defeated Steidley in the Republican primary back in June.
On January 2, Steidley’s last day, she approved a $12,000 raise for secretary-assistant Natalie Roberts.
Ballard states that, “what this does do, is affect leave payouts and unemployment rates. We’re on the hook for annual leave. If an employee terminates employment either voluntarily or involuntarily, if they have annual vacation leave, that money is paid at the next pay period.”
The District Attorney is in charge of what employees get paid and handles any changes in salary.
Trent Baggett, assistant executive coordinator confirms that, “in a DA’s office, the only individual whose salary is provided by statute is the district attorney. Everybody else is at the pleasure of the DA.”
Less than three months prior to ending her job, Steidley gave eight raises to employees who were not retained by Ballard. Consequently, around the time that former prosecutors Donald Palik and Sean McConnell were notified that they would not be retained, Steidley gave the OK for both pay raises.
Ballard alleges that, “to see raises handed out with 52 minutes left in the previous administration, it’s clear that those weren’t based on merit. They were based on persons who were no longer going to be here.”
If you are planning on moving to Tulsa soon, unsolicited pay raises within the district attorney’s office won’t be a problem anymore, as Ballard seems to have a firm handle on handling the public’s money.