Calif. Lottery Director explains expensive party

Feb 14, 2008, 5:12 pm (8 comments)

California Lottery

Travel budget cut to offset event cost

The director of the California Lottery said she would cut her staff's conference travel budget to offset $50,000 in taxpayer money spent on a questionable employee-recognition party that was the focus of a state Senate hearing Tuesday.

Joan Borucki, who was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and is up for confirmation in the Senate, testified during an informational hearing by the Governmental Organization Committee that she is in the process of developing new rules for such events.

During the Nov. 8 party, prizes such as iPods and digital cameras were handed out. The dinner party, held at the DoubleTree Hotel in Sacramento, was attended by about 300 employees and their guests.

Sen. Dean Florez, D-Bakersfield, who chairs the committee, urged Borucki to tighten internal fiscal controls in general within the voter-approved gambling operation.

Borucki agreed, saying she "hopes to get rid of any gray area."

In a follow-up letter, the lottery director reiterated that she had "removed all delegated authorities regarding expenditure approval from the employee who planned and executed the event."

"My staff and I have also gone through a thoughtful review of the billings from the event to better identify what expenditures could have been minimized or in most cases negated entirely."

The state Controller's Office is conducting an independent audit of the party, which should be completed by mid-March. In addition, the lottery has asked for a legal opinion regarding the event from the Attorney General's Office.

By May, Borucki said she plans to have the Lottery Commission adopt regulations governing employee recognition efforts. The rules would be aimed at aligning lottery actions with regulations under which the rest of state government operates.

Borucki said the lottery operation has suffered "years of neglect" that has led to lackluster performance — a situation she is trying to turn around. Borucki is the 19th lottery director in 22 years.

Borucki acknowledged the employee appreciation event was much more elaborate than those in previous years. She said that was due in part to commemorate the $20 billion the lottery has provided public schools since its creation. More than one-third of proceeds go to public schools.

But she also said the event was aimed at boosting sagging morale fueled by Schwarzenegger's stated desire to lease lottery operations to a private entity.

Borucki told Florez that during the party, "we got some intangible benefits I believe, at a critical time for lottery staff.... I felt it was important that they understand that they are appreciated."

Aaron McLear, a spokesman for the governor, said the governor supported Borucki's confirmation and referred comments on potential morale issues to Borucki.

Mercury News

Comments

spy153's avatarspy153

Borucki told Florez that during the party, "we got some intangible benefits I believe, at a critical time for lottery staff.... I felt it was important that they understand that they are appreciated."

 

I really don't see the harm in letting the employees have a party and giving bonuses and perks.  Doesn't everybody want their job to do that?  What makes lottery employees so different?

Besides, I think they are trying hard to hold onto their job with so many lottery directors in such a short period of time.

johnph77's avatarjohnph77

"The state Controller's Office is conducting an independent audit of the party, which should be completed by mid-March. In addition, the lottery has asked for a legal opinion regarding the event from the Attorney General's Office."

You can be sure this is costing the taxpayers more than $50,000.....

EXMECHANIC

Quote: Originally posted by johnph77 on Feb 15, 2008

"The state Controller's Office is conducting an independent audit of the party, which should be completed by mid-March. In addition, the lottery has asked for a legal opinion regarding the event from the Attorney General's Office."

You can be sure this is costing the taxpayers more than $50,000.....

haha so true!

jeffrey's avatarjeffrey

I think they should spend a lot more on the employees. It's free money after all. Maybe they should just divee it all up.

OldSchoolPa's avatarOldSchoolPa

Quote: Originally posted by jeffrey on Feb 15, 2008

I think they should spend a lot more on the employees. It's free money after all. Maybe they should just divee it all up.

I disagree homeboy!  This isn't free money.  I expect a good portion of the dollars I throw to the lottery to come back in the form of prizes...I don't play the lottery to over generously pad the pockets of the employees who work for the lottery (although I do sympathize that they nor their families can play the lottery themselves...hmmm all these people who are morally opposed to the lottery should get a job with the lottery...that way they'll have jobs and they won't feel any envy about those who come in with the winning jackpot tickets to claim their prize).  So all you Southern Baptists who are closet lottery players should go out and get a lottery commission job.

psykomo's avatarpsykomo

Quote: Originally posted by johnph77 on Feb 15, 2008

"The state Controller's Office is conducting an independent audit of the party, which should be completed by mid-March. In addition, the lottery has asked for a legal opinion regarding the event from the Attorney General's Office."

You can be sure this is costing the taxpayers more than $50,000.....

Everytime we have an expensive "PARTY"..........
I make sure we have a few beautiful GUIL's making merrygo

ROUND's asking for Heavy Donation's before

any of the elected official's LEAVE. (It alway's seems to WORK)

THE FABRIC luv's to "party"

PartyPartyPartyBananaBanana

psykomo's avatarpsykomo

Quote: Originally posted by spy153 on Feb 15, 2008

Borucki told Florez that during the party, "we got some intangible benefits I believe, at a critical time for lottery staff.... I felt it was important that they understand that they are appreciated."

 

I really don't see the harm in letting the employees have a party and giving bonuses and perks.  Doesn't everybody want their job to do that?  What makes lottery employees so different?

Besides, I think they are trying hard to hold onto their job with so many lottery directors in such a short period of time.

I THINK UR correct spy153:

YOU MAKE-ME....................to want to write that:

"stingy" Todd

a LETTER>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

AS a MEMBER of the LOTTERY POST >>>>>>>>>

PSYKOMO "DEMAND's >>>>>>>>> A BIG PARTY" 

 TRANSLATION:

PartyPartyParty

Jack-in-the-Box

jeffrey's avatarjeffrey

Quote: Originally posted by OldSchoolPa on Feb 15, 2008

I disagree homeboy!  This isn't free money.  I expect a good portion of the dollars I throw to the lottery to come back in the form of prizes...I don't play the lottery to over generously pad the pockets of the employees who work for the lottery (although I do sympathize that they nor their families can play the lottery themselves...hmmm all these people who are morally opposed to the lottery should get a job with the lottery...that way they'll have jobs and they won't feel any envy about those who come in with the winning jackpot tickets to claim their prize).  So all you Southern Baptists who are closet lottery players should go out and get a lottery commission job.

I hope you recognize sarcasm when you hear it. Corruption is exposed here and in many lotteries. If they want a party, pass the damn plate around. This is government and we all know that they have to run on a budget.Bang Head

End of comments
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