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Georgia Lottery hires new president

Georgia LotteryGeorgia Lottery: Georgia Lottery hires new president
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Despite controversy over the governor's role in the choice, the Georgia Lottery board handed state budget director Debbie Dlugolenski Alford a new job Thursday as the lottery's new president and CEO.

Board members took the unanimous vote on Alford's appointment, despite criticism they scuttled their own search because Gov. Nathan Deal wanted Alford to get the job. Though Alford has held several high-profile jobs in state government, she is the state's first lottery director without prior experience running a lottery.

Her new job will carry a $300,000 salary, a 93 percent raise over what she makes now but significantly less than what outgoing President Margaret DeFrancisco makes.

The lottery board's chairman, Jimmy Braswell, has denied Deal had undue influence on the board's decision. He took square aim after the vote at critics who insisted otherwise.

"The message I would send to critics is one, there was a process. And it was open to anyone who wanted to apply for the job," Braswell said Thursday. "The second thing I'd like to say is the board of directors of the Georgia Lottery Corp. takes their fiduciary responsibility extremely seriously."

The lottery — one of the country's most successful, with $3.8 billion in sales last year — pumps more than $900 million into the state's HOPE college scholarship and pre-kindergarten programs each year.

The board named Alford as its sole finalist two weeks ago. She replaces DeFrancisco, a lottery veteran who announced her retirement this summer. Alford makes $155,000 as state budget director, according to the latest state records available, but her new salary doesn't match her predecessor's pay of $378,000 a year.

Some have questioned the hire, which came even as DeFrancisco and, separately, the board in its original job posting expressed strong preference for a new president to have prior lottery experience.

"I'm concerned the governor's people interfered in the process — they basically hobbled the process so we wouldn't get the most qualified person for the job," said Senate Minority Leader Steve Henson, D-Tucker. "It's reckless."

However, the governor has expressed faith in Alford's ability to lead the lottery.

"I'm now going through my third budget cycle with Debbie, and she's one of the most intelligent, hardest-working and committed government employees with whom I've ever worked," Deal said Thursday. "... She'll go to work every day fighting to increase revenues for our HOPE and pre-k students in Georgia."

That strong level of support is also found on the board.

"If we did not believe that Debbie was the best candidate for the job, and if she did not have the ability to lead the Georgia Lottery Corp. to bigger and better heights, we would not have made the selection," Braswell said. "We think we have an excellent CEO now hired to lead the Georgia Lottery."

In a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Alford said she was "deeply honored" to join the lottery.

"I thank the board for their confidence, and I'm looking forward to starting work with the outstanding Georgia Lottery team," Alford said. "I am aware of the great responsibility that has been given to me, and I am fully committed to working with the board and staff to craft a strategy that will guide the organization into the future. This strategy will focus on funding the needs for HOPE and pre-kindergarten while keeping our players motivated and engaged."

Since the Georgia Lottery's inception in 1992, sales have fallen only three years, but they have not kept up with the growth of HOPE, and scholarships have been cut.

Besides leading the governor's Office of Planning and Budget, Alford has served as president of Georgia's virtual technical college and as deputy director of the budget office before taking over the top job in 2010.

She served on the lottery board until this month, when she resigned in advance of a vote on her expected appointment.

The choice of Alford caused one lottery board member, Frances Rogers, to quit this month in protest because she said Deal's involvement touting Alford compromised the board's search.

Braswell said Alford will come onboard to the lottery likely in a couple of weeks. She has been leading ongoing budget talks at the state Capitol to help Deal prepare for the next legislative session in January.

DeFrancisco will stay in the interim and for a short while beyond to help Alford acclimate to her new job.

"Margaret's been nothing but gracious," Braswell said. "There's nobody I know of who's worked harder or with more passion toward a cause."

News story photo(Click to display full-size in gallery)

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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17 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by jamella724.
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United States
Member #111446
May 25, 2011
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Posted: October 26, 2012, 7:43 am - IP Logged

Good luck to Debbie!

She could light up a stadium with that beautiful smile.  Sun Smiley

    hearsetrax's avatar - 51b3a0fe9bb4647656

    United States
    Member #52345
    May 21, 2007
    1943 Posts
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    Posted: October 26, 2012, 7:46 am - IP Logged

    Good luck to Debbie!

    She could light up a stadium with that beautiful smile.  Sun Smiley

    Skeptical

    buried treasure


      United States
      Member #111446
      May 25, 2011
      6323 Posts
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      Posted: October 26, 2012, 7:50 am - IP Logged

      Skeptical

      Or at least a small sized bathroom. What?

        helpmewin's avatar - dandy
        u$a
        United States
        Member #106669
        February 22, 2011
        17814 Posts
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        Posted: October 26, 2012, 8:00 am - IP Logged

        Good luck to Debbie!

        She could light up a stadium with that beautiful smile.  Sun Smiley

        Yes! she looks very trusting  Pumpkin Happy Halloween Debbie

                         

          golfer1960's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcRrT_aqD1AR0JipFSPNrYwpV7HY4uVoKxOgcUYLzZ3SEdif
          Eatontown, NJ
          United States
          Member #119675
          November 29, 2011
          554 Posts
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          Posted: October 26, 2012, 1:32 pm - IP Logged

          Good luck to Debbie!

          She could light up a stadium with that beautiful smile.  Sun Smiley

          Mcginnin, she's definetely cute but I wonder why so many people think she shouldn't have gotten the job? Was it jealousy or maybe she is not the best qualified. One of the board members quit because of her hiring.

          Also, state employees making $378K ($7,269 per week) to run the lottery?

          The US President makes $400K per year. Now Debbie is making $300K ($5,769 per week) to run the lottery.

          Lots of responsibility I know but I'm sure the tax payers of GA wouldn't pay her that much if they had a vote on it.

          Our Lottery Director in NJ (Carole Hedinger) makes $119,540 per year ($2,298 per week). Still lots of money but less than GA.

          Maybe I'm just jealous.

          jealous


            United States
            Member #88613
            March 19, 2010
            14 Posts
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            Posted: October 26, 2012, 1:52 pm - IP Logged

            golfer1960

            "I wonder why so many people think she shouldn't have gotten the job? Was it jealousy or maybe she is not the best qualified. One of the board members quit because of her hiring."

             

            Maybe because "Bad effing Deal" made it into a political appoinment which it is NOT supposed to be?

             

            He pressured the board with threats to once again try to eliminate the lottery in Georgia "it IS a sin after all, right?" unless she was appointed.

             

            Who knows who much more qualified could have been found? The board, under duress, STOPPED their search.


              United States
              Member #116272
              September 7, 2011
              20244 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: October 26, 2012, 4:24 pm - IP Logged

              Mcginnin, she's definetely cute but I wonder why so many people think she shouldn't have gotten the job? Was it jealousy or maybe she is not the best qualified. One of the board members quit because of her hiring.

              Also, state employees making $378K ($7,269 per week) to run the lottery?

              The US President makes $400K per year. Now Debbie is making $300K ($5,769 per week) to run the lottery.

              Lots of responsibility I know but I'm sure the tax payers of GA wouldn't pay her that much if they had a vote on it.

              Our Lottery Director in NJ (Carole Hedinger) makes $119,540 per year ($2,298 per week). Still lots of money but less than GA.

              Maybe I'm just jealous.

              jealous

              Some people just hate the ilk that are rich and atop the ladder of success.

              Congratulations Debbie.

              Patriot


                United States
                Member #111446
                May 25, 2011
                6323 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: October 26, 2012, 6:23 pm - IP Logged

                Mcginnin, she's definetely cute but I wonder why so many people think she shouldn't have gotten the job? Was it jealousy or maybe she is not the best qualified. One of the board members quit because of her hiring.

                Also, state employees making $378K ($7,269 per week) to run the lottery?

                The US President makes $400K per year. Now Debbie is making $300K ($5,769 per week) to run the lottery.

                Lots of responsibility I know but I'm sure the tax payers of GA wouldn't pay her that much if they had a vote on it.

                Our Lottery Director in NJ (Carole Hedinger) makes $119,540 per year ($2,298 per week). Still lots of money but less than GA.

                Maybe I'm just jealous.

                jealous

                She must have other talents and abilities we are not privy to. Wink

                  Avatar
                  STONE MOUNTAIN GA
                  United States
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                  April 9, 2008
                  247 Posts
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                  Posted: October 26, 2012, 7:48 pm - IP Logged

                  She must have other talents and abilities we are not privy to. Wink

                  Yeah, she's probably Nate's girlfriend!!!  Why else would she get the job?  He's an old sneezer and a crook!!!


                    United States
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                    May 25, 2011
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                    Posted: October 26, 2012, 7:52 pm - IP Logged

                    Yeah, she's probably Nate's girlfriend!!!  Why else would she get the job?  He's an old sneezer and a crook!!!

                    That's a nice little perk for being his girlfriend.  Jester Laugh


                      United States
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                      September 7, 2011
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                      Posted: October 26, 2012, 7:56 pm - IP Logged

                      That's a nice little perk for being his girlfriend.  Jester Laugh

                      Rich greedy ilk get the best of everything. Sorry about your luck..... losers. lol. lol. lol.


                        United States
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                        May 25, 2011
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                        Posted: October 26, 2012, 8:00 pm - IP Logged

                        Rich greedy ilk get the best of everything. Sorry about your luck..... losers. lol. lol. lol.

                        I'm sure that's what he's saying every chance he gets.  Thumbs Up


                          United States
                          Member #116272
                          September 7, 2011
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                          Posted: October 26, 2012, 8:06 pm - IP Logged

                          I'm sure that's what he's saying every chance he gets.  Thumbs Up

                          Service with a smile is always a welcome sight.  Big Grin

                            helpmewin's avatar - dandy
                            u$a
                            United States
                            Member #106669
                            February 22, 2011
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                            Posted: October 27, 2012, 6:48 am - IP Logged

                            She must have other talents and abilities we are not privy to. Wink

                            Rudolph*Christmas Bonus and Gifts*  Snowman