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Stitt selects former state senator for secretary of budget

Mike Mazzei

Mike Mazzei

Former state senator Mike Mazzei is Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt's nomination for secretary of budget, one of three new cabinet positions that will replace the secretary of finance.

“As Secretary of Budget, he will continue to ensure that our fiscal house is in order and that accountability and transparency measures are implemented with the state's use of Oklahomans' hard-earned tax dollars,” Stitt said.

If confirmed by the Senate, Mazzei, who once served as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, will help prepare Stitt's annual budget and oversee its implementation. Mazzei, 53, a Republican, represented a Tulsa County district from 2004 to 2016 in the state Senate.

Stitt also plans to hire a chief operating officer who will serve as the secretary of agency accountability and another person to serve as secretary of digital transformation, which the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services will report to.

Stitt, the founder and former CEO of Gateway Mortgage Group, has vowed to reform the state budget process, including an increased focus on performance metrics.

"We are not going to be doing business as usual, that just because you got X last year you get 10 percent more this year," Stitt said.

On Wednesday, the State Board of Equalization said revenue projections indicate the state Legislature will have about $612 million more to appropriate next fiscal year.

Stitt said that will allow the government to increase funding for some state agencies, but he also plans to add to Oklahoma's Rainy Day Fund.

Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›