Thursday, December 2, 2010

House Speaker-elect Replaces 1 As He Lays Off 11

Brian Downs
Shortly before laying off 11 House employees this week due to budget restraints, House Speaker-elect Kris Steele added a new employee by filling a vacant job when he hired Oklahomans For Responsible Government Executive Director Brian Downs.

The McCarville Report Online confirmed that Downs joined Steele's House staff in mid-November, replacing Policy Director Katie Altshuler, who has joined Governor-elect Mary Fallin's staff; until recently, his name remained on the OFRG's website, but has now been removed. Peter J. Rudy is listed as the group's contact; he is communications director and project manager.

There has been no announcement of Downs' employment by Steele, or of his departure from OFRG.

Ray Carter, Steele's spokesman, confirmed that Downs is on the speaker's staff and is being paid the same sum Altshuler was paid, $91,000 per year.

Carter would not identify the laid off employees, but said they included members of Steele's staff and most divisions in the House. He said the staff changes are a result of consecutive years of budget cuts, and that the House must be willing to take its share of cuts.

He added that in the case of the laid off employees, many of the positions are being eliminated; in Downs' case, he said, the policy director position remained.

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