Two vice presidents of the Iowa Lottery, which has been struggling to match last year's record profits, departed on the same day last week, and Lottery President Terry Rich isn't saying why they left.
Molly Juffernbruch, who had been the lottery's general legal counsel, and Jack Schroeder, who had been vice president of operations and systems, both stopped working at the Iowa Lottery on Thursday, state officials confirmed.
Both had worked for the state-run lottery for about four years, and they each had an annual salary of $109,033, said Mary Neubauer, the lottery's vice president for external relations.
Rich declined to provide details about why Juffernbruch and Schroeder were no longer working for the Iowa Lottery, although he said they were nonmerit employees who were classified as key people who could be replaced at any time.
"This is a confidential, personnel matter, and under Iowa law it is there to protect both the person and the state of Iowa," Rich told The Des Moines Register. Neither was provided a settlement from state government, he said.
Neither Juffernbruch nor Schroeder could be reached for comment Tuesday.
Both will be replaced, Neubauer said, explaining their departures were not the result of a staff reorganization.
Iowa Lottery profits, which provide a boost to state government revenues, are down from a year ago, although they are beating historical trends and budget projections, Rich said.
For the nine months ending in March — the most recent month available — Iowa Lottery profits totaled $57 million, which was a reduction from $62.8 million for the same period a year earlier, although ahead of the five-year average of $52.4 million.
March sales were soft in comparison to those of March 2013, when Powerball had a record run and there were other positive sales trends, Rich said.
March 2014 also saw strong payouts, with several prizes of $100,000 or more taken home by Iowa Lottery players. This is not uncommon and averages out over the year, he said.
"It has been a solid year, a healthy year. We have ups and downs with our various jackpots. We anticipate not record but near-record numbers for the year," Rich said.
Profits have also been affected because the lottery made $1.5 million in building acquisition payments in March and April for its new Clive headquarters, Rich said. This was budgeted in year-end numbers and expected, he added.