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Tenn. lottery board members get final approval

Feb 10, 2004, 6:39 am

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Tennessee LotteryTennessee Lottery: Tenn. lottery board members get final approval

The state House on Monday voted to confirm Gov. Phil Bredesen's appointees to the Tennessee Education Lottery Corp.'s board of directors, the final approval required by law.

All seven board members received at least 80 votes from the 99-member House.

But the approvals didn't come without objections from some lawmakers - mostly Republicans and members of the Legislature's Black Caucus - about the job the board has done to date.

"My vote today is not personal but is the only avenue I have to express to the business community of the state of Tennessee my dissatisfaction over the low percentage of minority business participation and the businesses as a whole," said Rep. Kathryn Bowers, D-Memphis and a Black Caucus member, before the vote.

Black members of the Legislature had previously expressed concern that the lottery wasn't hiring enough minority-owned Tennessee businesses to participate in large contracts with the games.

When developing the lottery legislation last year, lawmakers included wording to encourage 15 percent minority participation in all aspects of the business. While both of the lottery's contracts with its major gaming vendors require at least that percentage, the majority of their subcontractors are minority businesses located outside Tennessee.

Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, told colleagues he would vote against the confirmations because board members had refused to meet with him about concerns he has over lottery employee salaries.

"I hope my no votes are not seen as something against (the board) personally, but because they haven't answered my questions, I can only go on the information I've read in the papers," Dunn said.

Lottery President and CEO Rebecca Paul's pay package, which could total $752,000 with bonuses, has been criticized by both lawmakers and citizens in recent months as too high.

The state lottery statute calls for all seven board members to be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature. Since the General Assembly was out of session when Bredesen made his picks over the summer, lawmakers had until Thursday - 30 days into the current session - to approve or reject the choices.

The Senate voted unanimously late last month in favor of the governor's selections.

AP

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