Outgoing OSBI director pushed thousands of dollars in raises through before resigning
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
The former head of the Oklahoma City field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation will take over for the embattled former director of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
The OSBI Commission voted Tuesday to accept the resignation of Director Stan Florence and appoint Bob Ricks as the interim director for the agency. Ricks is not only the former Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Oklahoma City office, he also served as Oklahoma Commissioner of Public Safety and in 2017 he retired as Chief of Police for the city of Edmond.
The commission approved Florence’s transfer to his previous position of Special Agent in Charge that he held before being named director.
Ricks will step in following a year of controversy for the OSBI that began with more than 40 employees signing a letter to the commission which listed complaints about Florence and the agency’s administration. Some of those employees claimed agency leaders engaged in a pattern of retaliation following the letter’s submission.
During his final report to the commission, Florence answered questions about the agency’s full-time employee openings. Florence confirmed the agency has 65 unfilled positions, but around 30 of those positions are “frozen” due to financial constraints resulting from budget cuts and the state’s financial situation.
However, following the commission meeting the OSBI released records to FOX 25 that show Florence approved more than $80,000 in raises to high-level OSBI employees in the days and weeks preceding the submission of his resignation letter.
Florence promoted the general counsel to an open assistant director position, which has a statuatorily regulated salary of more than $100,000. In the same memo, Florence said the general counsel will remain the agency’s attorney despite the title change. That memo also indicated another staff attorney’s salary was being increased to accommodate for extra work.
Another salary increase went to the agency’s public information officer after she announced her resignation from the agency. The memo directing that salary increase indicated the public information office was taking on more duties related to dealing with other branches of government.
Florence walked out of the room when FOX 25 asked him about the raises, which in total exceed the salary of many front-line agents.
In 2015, Governor Mary Fallin issued an executive order calling for a halt on salary increases in most situations. Records obtained by FOX 25 show Florence requested, and received, approval to give out some of the raises from the Governor’s Secretary of Public Safety, Rusty Rhodes.
For his part, Florence will likely receive a reduction in pay as he moves from to a lower-level position. The agency told FOX 25 Florence will make $85,000 a year as a Special Agent in Charge.
After accepting the resignation letter, the OSBI Commission also reviewed a report compiled by the Attorney General’s office following an investigation into employee complaints about the agency’s administration. Attorney General Mike Hunter attended the nearly two-hour long executive session to give advice to the commission.
Hunter also met with Florence days before Florence submitted his letter of resignation.
“I think all involved today made good decisions, based on what's in the best interest of the agency and the state,” Hunter told FOX 25 following the meeting.