Tennessee lottery workers can earn as much as 10% of their salary in incentive bonuses about $18,000 for the highest-paid executives if tickets for the scratch-off games and the games played by picking numbers are on sale by their deadlines.
The incentive package for the lottery start-up was recommended by Tennessee Education Lottery CEO Rebecca Paul and approved by the lottery board yesterday.
Gov. Phil Bredesen said the bonus level was not unreasonable and was considerably more conservative than figures he heard last week from TEL board Chairman Denny Bottorff.
Paul said the bonus level was "reasonable but motivates employees to do the 18 hours a day, seven days a week that we'll need to do."
A different incentive structure will be set up after the startup, she said.
The sales staff will not be eligible for the 10% bonus and instead will work on a commission, Paul said.
Base pay for the sales staff, which includes workers in district offices who will build relationships with retailers, will range from $27,000 to $45,000. Sales employees could earn as much as $15,000 in commission based on sales in their territories.
Paul has been criticized by lawmakers and others for not making incentive packages public earlier. The criticism grew when she hired three previous employees at the Georgia Lottery at salaries of $180,000 each, explaining that they would be eligible for bonuses but not specifying the incentives.
They each earned $40,000 bonuses in Georgia last year.
Her own bonus package has been a target. Paul is getting a base salary of $350,000 and could earn a bonus of $402,500 if the operation meets all targets and deadlines.
The 10% incentive bonuses for her staff would work this way:
" Employees hired by Nov. 1 would earn a bonus of 6% of an annual salary if scratch-off games start by Feb. 10. Bonus levels for those hired after Nov. 1 would be pro-rated daily and below 6%.
" Employees hired by Jan. 2 would earn a 4% bonus if the numbers-pick games start by April 10. Again, bonus levels for those hired after Jan. 2 would be pro-rated daily and fall below 4%.
Workers on the job since Nov. 1 qualify for the full 10% bonus.
A long-term bonus program will be developed once the lottery conducts an outside study, said Paul, adding that she had no data on which to project sales and profits.
In other lottery developments:
" Bill Skees, a technology consultant from New Jersey, was hired as vice president of information technology yesterday. He will earn $125,000 in base salary. He previously worked for AWI, a lottery vendor being acquired by Scientific Games, one of Tennessee's lottery vendors.
" Paul was not at all flustered by an MTSU poll that showed 35% of Tennesseans would never play the lottery. "Forty-two percent of the population voted against (the lottery referendum) and 35% said they would not play, so we picked up 7%," Paul quipped.
" Representatives of GTECH, the company that will run the electronic game, in which players play numbers they've picked and get a computer-printed ticket, showed off their equipment to board members yesterday.
GTECH will place small satellite dishes on the roofs of ticket sellers no drilling required, said Donald Redic, GTECH's technical service manager in Tennessee.
The satellite is connected by cables to a touch-screen computer terminal and ticket printer, which will be placed on the store counter. Store clerks use the terminals to validate scratch-off tickets and to print tickets for the pre-selected numbers game.
The lottery expects to begin approving retailers in the next couple of weeks. As soon as a store, beauty salon, hotel or any other applicant is approved, GTECH will have the equipment installed and train the retailer's workers.
SCC, a minority-owned Nashville business, will do the installation work for GTECH, Redic said. The legislation creating the lottery specified that a certain level of lottery services must be provided by minority vendors.