TULSA - Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello says his department will close its Tulsa office in June.
"We are closing the brick and mortar portion of the Tulsa office of the Department of Labor for the purposes of budgetary constraints, as well as the recognition and transition to online technology," Costello told KRMG Tuesday morning.
"We have only seven unique visitors a week to our Tulsa offices, and we realize that we can service those people more effectively by using resources in a centralized manner, and that's what we're going to do," he added.
He said the federal government has cut a lot of funding for programs like asbestos abatement, workers comp enforcement, and other areas of responsibility, but the agency still has to get the job done despite fewer resources.
"We want to do the right thing and utilize 21st Century technology. We don't merely want to say 'hey it's good political optics to keep a brick and mortar office open."
He added, "if bricks and mortar was the solution, then I would argue that Barnes and Noble would be doing better than Amazon."
Costello says fourteen employees will have the choice to accept a job in Oklahoma City or take a buyout.
"We are dealing with the reality in a proactive manner, rather than waiting," he said.
"It's the right thing to do so far as resources, it's the right thing to do with our budget, and we can continue to provide the services that we have provided more cost effectively by doing this."
The office handles wage and hour disputes and deals with workers comp enforcement.
However, workers comp will now be handled by a separate agency, a decision Costello supports.