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Former N.D. Lottery head gets unusual retirement payout

Jun 20, 2008, 8:48 am

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North Dakota LotteryNorth Dakota Lottery: Former N.D. Lottery head gets unusual retirement payout

When North Dakota's former lottery director retired in April, he was paid $44,432 for unused vacation time, a sum that is raising eyebrows among lawmakers who write the budget for state government.

Chuck Keller could not use up his leave, which totaled more than 31 weeks, because he was busy planning the launch of North Dakota's lottery office, said Tom Trenbeath, the state's deputy attorney general. The lottery began selling Powerball tickets in March 2004.

Keller also accumulated compensatory time off and used it instead of taking vacation, Trenbeath said.

"Chuck did a nice job (establishing the lottery) in a short time," Trenbeath said. "He literally worked a double shift for more than a year."

Keller could not be reached for comment. He did not respond to telephone messages left at his home.

His vacation payment was reported Wednesday to the Legislature's interim Budget Section, which is made up of legislative floor leaders from both parties and members of the North Dakota House and Senate appropriations committees.

Normally, state employees may not keep more than 240 hours of unused vacation time each year, although agencies may allow a larger carryover for business reasons, said Pam Sharp, director of the state Office of Management and Budget. Keller was paid for 1,264 hours of vacation.

Rep. Bob Skarphol, R-Tioga, said in the future, legislative budget writers should be told of employees who may be retiring with large amounts of accumulated vacation time.

Sen. Larry Robinson, D-Valley City, said he worried about setting precedent.

"This just seems to be out of the ordinary in terms of our state policy," Robinson said.

Kathy Roll, a budget administrator in the attorney general's office, replied that the payment was unusual, "but there were extraordinary circumstances."

"(Keller) put in literally thousands and thousands of hours of overtime. With the tight implementation date of the lottery, he was not able to take (vacation), literally, for several years," Roll said. "We had been given a directive that the lottery needed to be on line at a certain point, and the hours that that took ... he was allowed to carry over."


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5 comments. Last comment 13 years ago by johnph77.
Page 1 of 1
Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
United States
Member #487
July 15, 2002
17638 Posts

They need to get rid of "compensatory time off". 

If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

You never know when you will get another hit.

    DC81's avatar - batman39
    United States
    Member #54828
    August 31, 2007
    985 Posts

    Sounds like he earned it though and it's the state's fault if the guy had a really tight deadline.

    You can't predict random.

      KY Floyd's avatar - lysol avatar.jpg
      United States
      Member #23834
      October 16, 2005
      4339 Posts

      They need to get rid of "compensatory time off". 

      You're welcome to work for free as much as you want, but why should others have to?

        Oklahoma City
        United States
        Member #54053
        August 2, 2007
        22 Posts

        They need to get rid of "compensatory time off". 

        I don't think so...  I'm a state employee, work 50-60 hours a week.  Why shouldn't I get paid for time I work, it's not like I can take the time off!  Too much to do.

          johnph77's avatar - avatar
          United States
          Member #2987
          December 10, 2003
          832 Posts

          Prior approval was required for the carryover. No problem. They were aware that such an occurance was possible. They might have delayed his retirement, kept him on the rolls after his retirement date and paid him piecemeal for his accumulated leave but the monies paid would have been the same.

          When I retired from the Fed I was given a lump sum for my unused vacation time. It wasn't nearly as much as his payment, but it helped.  

          Blessed Saint Leibowitz, keep 'em dreamin' down there..... 

          Next week's convention for Psychics and Prognosticators has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.