Hire homegrown, lower-paid people, governor suggests
Gov. Phil Bredesen says he wants Tennessee lottery chief Rebecca Paul to stop stacking her staff with former employees from the Georgia lottery and paying out top-dollar salaries.
"I honestly think we have enough Georgians now and we have enough high-salary people, and I'm anxious to get on with the business of building this lottery," Bredesen told reporters yesterday.
"We've accommodated what she wanted, but enough is enough."
Paul has so far hired five executives, including two who worked for her when she was head of the Georgia lottery. Three on the staff are making $180,000 each, plus yet-un-specified incentive bonuses.
Because of the nature of a lottery start-up, more out-of-state lottery executives, such as a vice president of security, might still be hired, said Will Pinkston, lottery vice president for corporate affairs.
"In certain jobs, it's important to have previous lottery experience. But the vast majority of employees in the organization definitely will be Tennesseans," Pinkston said.
Bredesen credited Paul as "the best lottery manager in the United States" and said, "I think we have given her enormous deference in putting together her team."
As governor, Bredesen appoints the seven-member lottery board but otherwise does not control the lottery.
"I don't want the whole top management being people I don't know, who don't have roots in Tennessee, who, for all I know, might go off with Rebecca Paul five years from now to some other lottery," he said.
"I really would like some solid people from here."
Paul plans to hire 250-300 lottery employees, but she has not said how many people will serve as her senior staff, what remaining senior positions she plans to fill or what their salaries will be.
The salaries "you will see from this point out generally will be lower numbers than what you've seen so far," Pinkston said.
Paul is looking for a management team with "the best possible mix" of lottery experience and an understanding of Tennessee and its marketplace, Pinkston said.
The governor said he supported state Treasurer Steve Adams' move to the lottery. As governor, it will be up to Bredesen to appoint an interim state treasurer until the General Assembly convenes next year to elect one.
Bredesen plans to fill the position early next week.