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Tennessee Senator criticizes Lottery vacation, sick leave policy

Apr 7, 2004, 3:28 am

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Tennessee LotteryTennessee Lottery: Tennessee Senator criticizes Lottery vacation, sick leave policy

For employees of the Tennessee Lottery, it could pay not to get sick.

Employees can build up sick days and be paid for half of the unused ones when they leave. They earn one day per month, and there's no maximum on how much can be accrued or rolled over from year to year.

Unused vacation time can be built up in a similar manner. Employees can be paid for up to three years' worth when they leave.

The Tennessee Lottery's vacation and sick policy resembles what Rebecca Paul, the lottery's president and chief executive officer, put in place for all employees at the Georgia Lottery. That policy has come under scrutiny in Georgia by state politicians worried that revenues won't cover all college scholarships and pre-kindergarten programs at some point.

Yesterday, state Sen. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, who sponsored the constitutional amendment for a lottery, criticized the Tennessee Lottery's vacation and sick leave policy as well as the five weeks of vacation that Paul and her executive team are to receive.

He said a five-week vacation benefit approved by the lottery board recently seems "extraordinarily generous."

"My concern is we don't have something like what happened in Georgia happen in Tennessee," said Cohen, who in the past had been one of Paul's biggest advocates.

The legislator said he hopes the board will prohibit Paul and other top executives from accumulating generous amounts of vacation and sick time, saying he was disturbed about reports that the practice cost the Georgia lottery almost $300,000 when Paul and several lottery vice presidents quit to come to Tennessee. Paul was paid $125,139 for 24 weeks of vacation time, including 18 weeks rolled over from previous years, when she left last fall.

Cohen said lottery board Chairman Denny Bottorff told him that the board adopted some benefits packages but will study them. Cohen said he prefers that the state comptroller do the study.

The package the Tennessee lottery board has approved sounds a lot like what Georgia offered Paul, Cohen said.

"I hope the board has a conservative benefits and leave package," the legislator said. "Eventually we'll have to pay this money out. We need to put the students first."

Paul's five weeks off in Tennessee is less than the six weeks vacation she had in Georgia every year.

But it's better than some other top private-sector executives.

Gaylord Entertainment Co. Chief Executive Colin Reed has four weeks of vacation, as does David Perdue, Dollar General's CEO.

Reed earns a base salary of $650,000 plus bonuses that can push his compensation beyond $1 million a year. He also received a $500,000 signing bonus.

Paul has a base salary of $350,000 and could earn another $500,000 this year for starting the lottery games by certain dates and hitting the deadline of raising $88 million by July to fund the first college scholarships backed by the lottery money.

Bottorff said, "We looked at what other corporations did and the state of Tennessee. We may have looked at Georgia, but that wasn't the focus."

The board decided on the current benefits package to ensure that the lottery could compete for employees with the private sector, Bottorff added.

Bottorff said the reason for allowing carry-over of vacation and some sick time is so people don't have to use up vacation in the middle of a big project at year's end when it would help to have employees stay on the job.

Here's how the lottery's leave policy stacks up with some others:

With Tennessee state government, employees can accrue vacation days and roll them over into the next year, but that tops out at a certain point.

For example, employees with between 10 and 20 years of service can accumulate up to 39 days and be paid for the unused time when they leave, according to state personnel policy.

State employees aren't paid for accumulated sick leave, though.

In corporate America, many companies have shifted vacation policy toward a "use it or lose it" standard. The trend also has been to merge vacation with sick days into an overall category of "paid time-off."

One of Nashville's largest employers, HCA, has paid time-off but allows limited accrual. Employees there can build up to 150% of what they qualify for during a year. Someone who earns 10 days can build up to 15. Once the limit is reached, employees stop accruing days.

HCA adheres to another trend allowing the sale of vacation days back to the company. Employees must retain at least 80 hours of vacation but can sell anything above that for 90 cents on the dollar. Senior level executives, however, can't sell back their unused vacation.

Tennessean

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11 comments. Last comment 16 years ago by Todd.
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New Member
Brooklyn
United States
Member #4213
March 31, 2004
7 Posts
Offline
Posted: April 7, 2004, 6:12 am - IP Logged

OMFG!



That's what happens when bureaucracy goes unchecked. It's the "It's not my money syndrome" and federal, state, local government employees' all tend to have this mentality.



I think this is sick.

    repat's avatar - praying hands.jpg

    United States
    Member #3738
    February 16, 2004
    34 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: April 7, 2004, 6:30 am - IP Logged

    She doesn't need to buy Lottery tickets...........

      Littleoldlady's avatar - basket
      100
      Clarksville
      United States
      Member #487
      July 15, 2002
      17638 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: April 7, 2004, 8:25 am - IP Logged

      The sick leave part is okay.  They can sell back half which amounts to 12 days per year which is  6 days to sell back. If they work for 10 years, and used none of it, they could only sell back 60 days which is 2 months salary. The only way they should get paid for unused vacation time is if something happened and it was absolutely necessary for them to be there to fix the problem. And it should be in writing. The vacation time is the stinger..if they save up 3 years worth of vacation time, they will have a total of 15 weeks of pay at their current or future salary. So actually they would have to work for the TN lottery for 10 years to leave with approximately 23 weeks  of salary.

      If you know your number is going to hit, have patience and then KILL IT!

      You never know when you will get another hit.

        liberal47's avatar - Rowlf
        Holt MI
        United States
        Member #2244
        September 4, 2003
        69 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: April 7, 2004, 8:35 am - IP Logged

        I question the motivation of the legislator who is pushing this.

        I agree, the sick leave portion of the package is fine just the way it is. Vacation time is another matter. If you don't use it you should lose it.

        Just wondering what the policy is for Tenessee legislators. The guy who is promoting this change is probably getting a hell of a lot more PAID time off than Ms. Paul. In Michigan our legislature gave themselves a 39% pay raise, and then when the rank and file wanted 5 percent they slashed that  2% and said they were entitled because they were "executives", and if they were in private industry, they would be getting alot more. Please!

          Avatar
          New Member
          Brooklyn
          United States
          Member #4213
          March 31, 2004
          7 Posts
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          Posted: April 7, 2004, 9:01 am - IP Logged
          Quote: Originally posted by liberal47 on April 07, 2004

          In Michigan our legislature gave themselves a 39% pay raise, and then when the rank and file wanted 5 percent they slashed that 2% and said they were entitled because they were "executives", and if they were in private industry, they would be getting alot more. Please!




          Sigh... the excuses are unimaginably lame! If they wanted so much more money, then get a different job in the private sector. The thing is they know it isn't so easy to get that high paying executive position that everybody wants.
            Wet Dog's avatar - wallace
            The Bible Belt
            United States
            Member #3803
            February 22, 2004
            26 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: April 7, 2004, 7:55 pm - IP Logged

            I cant understand why anyone would want to sell their sick leave, when they leave. Hell, when I got ready to leave (retire) I'll be damned if I would take half of the leave I built up during my tinure. When I got ready to leave, I would just use my sick leave. All of it. All the while building more sick (and vacation) leave.

            So they're getting something we're not getting. It's kinda like knowing someone who hits the lottery. Aren't we just a little jelous that they hit it, and not you ?

              TNmatt's avatar - skull
              New Member
              Tennessee
              United States
              Member #3802
              February 22, 2004
              5 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: April 7, 2004, 10:41 pm - IP Logged

              Damn, I just said not more than 2 days ago that I would be afraid to see what happens when Paul and her crew leave Tennessee.  Here's a sneak peek at the future.

                Lotto Czar's avatar - sam
                Harrisburg, Pa.
                United States
                Member #3093
                December 23, 2003
                233 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: April 8, 2004, 6:17 am - IP Logged

                As a State Employee in Pa., I refrained from commenting yesterday, although there is a lot I can say.  I wanted to wait until what was said by others,

                First of all, I'm glad Ms. Paul is NOT in Pa.  And I don't work for Tennessee.  Maybe it's becauseTenn.  and Georgia Lotteries are ran differently than Pa.'s (a bureau in the Dept. of Revenue).  I have no problem with the Leave policies for State Workers there, it's pretty similar to what we get.  But I do agree,  paying $1,000,000 to a glorified bureau director is WRONG.  When us workers get little or no increase in salary.  Could be worse.  Hows/ your health care?

                AFSCME does the best job they can representing us, but why aren't they doing anything down there.

                Another example of the Evil of Outsourcing.

                  Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                  50
                  Chief Bottle Washer
                  New Jersey
                  United States
                  Member #1
                  May 31, 2000
                  25724 Posts
                  Online
                  Posted: April 8, 2004, 6:33 am - IP Logged

                  What the heck does outsourcing have to do with it?  First of all, the story has nothing to do with outsourcing, and second of all, it has been clearly shown in studies that outsourcing of mundane "commodity"-type jobs actually INCREASES the jobs here, and makes for much BETTER jobs.

                  The media has whipped up a lather around this outsourcing issue, mostly just an attempt to make the current administration look bad.  They have no interest in the facts.

                  I'm sure I'll hear about all the people that lost jobs because of outsourcing, but I've been there myself, and it's just a matter of getting back on your feet.  Who said anyone is ENTITLED to a particular job?  If it looks like a job is going away, then get in gear and learn something else.

                   

                  Check the State Lottery Report Card
                  What grade did your lottery earn?

                   

                  Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                  Help eliminate computerized drawings!

                    Lotto Czar's avatar - sam
                    Harrisburg, Pa.
                    United States
                    Member #3093
                    December 23, 2003
                    233 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: April 8, 2004, 7:48 am - IP Logged

                    What I meant was letting corporations do government work, and then laying off the government employees for lack of work.  That, to me is wrong. 

                      Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
                      50
                      Chief Bottle Washer
                      New Jersey
                      United States
                      Member #1
                      May 31, 2000
                      25724 Posts
                      Online
                      Posted: April 8, 2004, 10:34 am - IP Logged

                      I understand your reaction if you're the government worker getting laid off.  However, philosophically, I believe smaller government is better, and I strongly believe in capitalism and competition as the means to achieve the best possible results.

                      Taxes pay for government jobs.  The more government jobs, the higher the taxes.

                      On the other hand, companies make their money independent of taxes, and actually generate income for the government because they themselves are taxed.

                      Therefore, letting corporations do government work reduces taxes and government spending on two fronts:



                      1. Through reduction of taxpayer-sponsored jobs, and,

                      2. Through additional corporate tax revenue back to the government.

                       

                      Check the State Lottery Report Card
                      What grade did your lottery earn?

                       

                      Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
                      Help eliminate computerized drawings!