The S.C. lottery has hired one of the games' original commissioners to be its interim executive director, an official said Wednesday.
Paula Harper Bethea, a Bluffton civic leader and McNair Law Firm executive, is expected to take over daily operations of the $1 billion-a-year lottery later this month, said Tim Madden, lottery commission chairman.
Bethea will succeed executive director Ernie Passailaigue. He resigned July 1 to start the Arkansas lottery, which is expected to begin sales later this year.
A national search is under way to find a permanent executive director. Madden said that process should take about six months. He said Bethea, who has taken a leave of absence from her current job, will not be a candidate for the permanent post.
Bethea was one of nine original commission members who oversaw the 2002 startup of the S.C. lottery. Madden said Bethea is familiar with the lottery, respected across the state, and brings good leadership and business skills.
"It's a win-win," Madden said. "She's a very natural fit, and we're fortunate to have her." Bethea will be paid the same $237,000-a-year salary Passailaigue drew, Madden said.