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Nine finalists in running for Texas Lottery chief

Texas LotteryTexas Lottery: Nine finalists in running for Texas Lottery chief

Trust issues expected to figure prominently in interviews with candidates light on specific experience

When questions about inflated jackpots forced Lottery Director Reagan Greer to resign earlier this year, lottery officials said they needed someone to replace him who could regain the public's trust.

A special search committee will begin Friday to interview nine finalists for the position, whittled down from 126 applicants. Only one of the nine people has experience working at a state lottery.

The diverse pool includes several candidates with extensive military experience, one with management experience at another state agency, two lawyers and the president of a lottery consulting company. Most did not return repeated calls from the Austin American-Statesman.

Whoever is selected will be charged with the difficult task of restoring the image of the nation's third-largest lottery and improving the dwindling Lotto Texas sales, down 35 percent from last year.

Plagued by those problems and a distrustful public, the Texas Lottery Commission in July established a search committee of Texas citizens to look for its next director. Included in this committee is one critic of the commission, former lottery employees, representatives from both the gambling and retail industries and other state agencies.

History has shown that experience is not a prerequisite for the director's job.

Greer's selection was criticized in 2002 when it was discovered he held a two-year degree from San Antonio College, and not a bachelor's degree. He was appointed to the job of executive director after he lost a bid for Bexar County district clerk.

This year, the one applicant getting the most publicity, who may have the most understanding of the Texas Lottery, is Dawn Nettles, the lottery's most vocal critic.

Nettles publishes the online lottery newsletter The Lotto Report and has spent several years criticizing the Texas Lottery for inflating jackpot estimates and bad management decisions that led to dwindling sales.

She is responsible for revealing the $1.3 million discrepancy that resulted in Greer's resignation.

"It took me a long time to make the decision to apply," Nettles said. "I know I've been a thorn in their side for so very long. I know I'm not their favorite person because I've caused them a lot of grief.

"But the players know I'm honest," she said, "and I know I'm more than qualified."

The question of honesty may arise more in this search process than it has before.

Lottery officials say the recent problems with the jackpot estimates have brought more attention to trustworthiness than experience.

"It is my intent to examine carefully each person's reputation," said Texas Lottery Commission Chairman Tom Clowe, the only commissioner who is a member of the search committee, "to look closely in regard to their understanding of integrity and honesty."

Some say experience in the military and a reputation for honesty might go hand-in-hand.

"We live by an honor code, and I can still recite it like it was yesterday," said applicant Stephen Malutich, the education director for an aviation school in Houston. "I believe in those things. I think the public understands generally what kind of people are in the military and what kind of values they hold."

Malutich moved to Texas in 1998 to run an Air Force recruiting office before he retired after 27 years of service.

Lottery officials won't say if there is a clear front-runner.

Clowe said the committee hasn't closed the search process yet and will still accept applications. There is no definite timetable for when a new director will be selected to replace interim Director Gary Grief.

One applicant is Mark Hutchinson, the president of a Nevada-based international lottery consulting and marketing company. He coordinated the marketing and sales divisions of both the Wisconsin and Kansas lotteries in the late 1980s and is the only person selected for an interview with experience at a state lottery.

Hutchinson did not return several calls from the Austin American-Statesman.

In lobbying for herself, Nettles said the Texas Lottery should avoid hiring people with lottery experience and instead look outside the lottery world for unconventional leadership.

"I don't think it's really necessary to have someone who has worked for the lottery," Nettles said. "But you should at least have somebody that has bought a ticket before."

The next Texas Lottery director?

  • Dawn Nettles, publisher of the online Lotto Report
  • Stephen Malutich, education director for a Houston aviation school, former manager of San Antonio Air Force recruiting office
  • Mark Hutchinson, president of a Nevada-based international lottery marketing and consulting company
  • Juan Garcia, Corpus Christi lawyer and former Navy pilot
  • James Loyd, former executive director of Texas Health Care Information Council
  • Juan Cabezas, vice president of marketing for Zebra Imaging Inc., a holographics company
  • Robert Shipe, former executive director of the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission
  • Sue McNabb, assistant attorney general in Louisiana, helped establish a state gambling treatment program
  • Gordon Hickam, former director of application development at the Texas General Land Office, former regional director of the U.S. Treasury specializing in financial management

Austin American-Statesman

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6 comments. Last comment 11 years ago by Chewie.
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Tnplayer805's avatar - G 14_v78828750_Small.JPG
North Dakota
United States
Member #13397
April 5, 2005
1623 Posts
Offline
Posted: October 13, 2005, 12:36 pm - IP Logged

Good to see Rebecca Paul not up there...

How are you going to win if you don't play?

    Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
    Chief Bottle Washer
    New Jersey
    United States
    Member #1
    May 31, 2000
    23277 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: October 13, 2005, 2:12 pm - IP Logged

    Good to see Rebecca Paul not up there...

    She'd probably have to take a big pay cut to go to Texas.  Plus, why would she want all those problems?  I'm sure Rebecca is loving life in Tennessee.  (Although probably not too enamored of the media there.)

     

    Check the State Lottery Report Card
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    Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
    Help eliminate computerized drawings!

      LANTERN's avatar - kilroy 28_173_reasonably_small.jpg
      Tx
      United States
      Member #4570
      May 4, 2004
      5180 Posts
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      Posted: October 14, 2005, 1:33 am - IP Logged

      Since the lottery director might have limited powers to act, it should not matter as much.

      I don't know anything or almost anything about any of those people, but maybe I would go for Nettles or Hutchinson or Garcia or Cabezas, it is very hard to chose any of them or any of the others, unless you know them.

      On the other hand the post of Chairman is really important I think, not that I know anything at all about it, I really don't.

      All that I want is "HONEST GAMES", sure, that would be the day, keep on dreaming, it will never happen.

      BibleOnline  ParishesOnline  ChristianRadioOnline   MassOnline   Mass

      "Ten measures of beauty descended to the world, nine were taken by Jerusalem."


        United States
        Member #379
        June 5, 2002
        11296 Posts
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        Posted: October 29, 2005, 11:43 am - IP Logged

        I'd like to see Mrs Nettles get it. Somebody who TRULY speaks for the players, which NY of course doesn't have.

          Rainmaker2k's avatar - voodoo
          Dallas, TX
          United States
          Member #5506
          July 8, 2004
          24 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: November 8, 2005, 6:32 pm - IP Logged

          My Fingers and Toes are crossed for Dawn. 

          It is better to open your eyes and say you don't understand, than to close your eyes and say you don't believe.

          George Clinton

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            Sparta, NJ
            United States
            Member #18331
            July 9, 2005
            1977 Posts
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            Posted: November 9, 2005, 10:34 am - IP Logged

            The person apointed will be so because of politics, not talent.  Whoever will look good to the media and make the fuss go away.  Nothing else counts.  Make the state money, and shut the press up.  The winner will get to fire some mid-level people, rearrange the furniture, give a few press conferences, and then sit behind the wall and wonder why they wanted that position.  Its the Government we are dealing with, not private industry.

            Cheers

            |||::> *'`*:-.,_,.-:*''*:--->>> Chewie  <<<---.*''*:-.,_,.-:*''* <:::|||

            I only trust myself - and that's a questionable choice