North Carolina Lottery director Tom Shaheen didn't just get a raise last week that keeps him at the top of the pay heap among non-university state employees. He got a sustained, standing ovation from his bosses, the nine-member lottery commission.
Shaheen's salary will jump to $246,750 annually as of June 1, a 5 percent increase. He's also getting a one-time payment of $5,781 to make up for several months he had gone without a raise, commissioners said.
Among non-university employees (which include doctors and sports coaches), Shaheen's pay is second to Museum of Art Director Larry Wheeler, who has a state salary of $250,000, according to the State Personnel Office.
Lottery commissioners last Tuesday met in private, as allowed by state law, to discuss Shaheen's performance as part of his first major review since taking over the lottery in December 2005.
When they emerged, lottery chairman John McArthur said commissioners were happy they chose him to launch the lottery. McArthur, a Progress Energy executive who once worked for Gov. Mike Easley, said commissioners like Shaheen's management team and the controls he has put in place and said they are pleased "almost all across the board."
None mentioned that sales of the lottery in the first year did not meet targets set by Shaheen or his staff, nor of the governor and legislators. The gap is likely to mean $80 million less than the $401 million for education that Shaheen forecast -- a 20 percent shortfall. Legislators wanted even more than that from the lottery. Money from a lottery reserve and taxpayers will have to make up the difference.
McArthur announced the raise and then all of the commissioners stood and clapped for Shaheen. Shaheen's employees, who filled a conference room, joined in. Shaheen thanked them all.