Tennessee Lottery director Rebecca Paul is getting a pay cut under a new plan adopted by the states lottery board Monday.
Paul said she anticipated a drop in incentive pay because the $350,000 in bonuses she received for the first year was based on a very aggressive startup schedule.
The recommendations of an approximately $85,000 independent study were approved by the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation (TEL) board and would set Pauls salary at a total of $577,000. The salary assumes a $350,000 base and potential incentives of 65 percent of that pay.
Pauls pay during this first year reached $700,000, half of which was incentive pay earned by exceeding goals set by the TEL board resulting in a lottery kickoff three weeks ahead of schedule.
Total incentives given employees under the new plan could approach the $800,000 mark.
State Sen. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis), the legislative architect of the states lottery, said the incentives are unnecessary.
I just dont believe in incentives for people doing their jobs who are being handsomely paid to start with, Cohen said. It takes away money from the kids.
Though Pauls incentive package is reduced under the plan her base pay could be increased in the near future, TEL board president and Nashville businessman Denny Bottorff said.
State Rep. Chris Newton (R-Benton), who carried lottery-enabling legislation through the state House, applauded the plan saying it would help to retain quality employees and maximize profits for the lottery.
The board could have implemented a benefit incentive structure on their own without doing the study, Newton said. I indicated that earlier in the year. But they chose to go ahead and do that & it is conservative and it is competitive [with] the market place.
The incentive levels in the coming year would be based on the percentage of sales, which would have to exceed a minimum 5 percent increase over this year. The lottery is now in its tenth month and has garnered roughly $740 million. Roughly $174 million in net lottery proceeds have already gone into college scholarships for Tennessee students.
The board also enacted an official benefit plan for TEL employees. Included were medical and dental benefits, six days of sick leave, 11 weeks of short term disability, 10 vacation days increasing after five years, 10 holidays and a retirement plan.