Thank you for the opportunity and privilege to serve as your President for 2019-2020. OCRA is a professional trade association but it’s also so much more than that. OCRA is an active community of engaged women and men at all stages of careers and life. Our organization is a shared space of friends and colleagues who actively work together to promote each other and the profession. If we do not promote one another professionally, who will promote us?
Avalanche of change. A colleague recently wrote this phrase. I thought this phrase was perfect for what OCRA has seen over the last year. OCRA listened to our membership regarding our long-time lobbyist. In lieu of hiring a new lobbyist, we entered into an agreement with the Oklahoma Public Employees Association to represent our interests. OPEA has been the voice of state employees since 1975 and has evolved to be the largest and most effective voice for state employees and retirees.
We still have work to accomplish with our salaries going forward but we have taken a huge step in the right direction.
With our alliance with OPEA, we have now seen our first raise in 13 years due to SB 349 taking our salary out of statute and HB 2737 with the appropriation funding. SB 349 actually allowed us to realize two raises in 2019 with the final bill HB 2771 signed by Governor Stitt on May 19th. In addition to salary increases for our officials, OCRA was proactive in protecting our freelancers by the addition of Section 2(B) in the online electronic notarial act as outlined in SB 915.
We can accomplish together what we could not accomplish individually.
Standing together, we can create the avalanche to slide in our direction!
Shelley Ottwell, CSR, RPR
OCRA President 2019-2020