Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski has chosen Marion County District Attorney Dale Penn as the new director of the Oregon Lottery.
Penn was appointed Thursday, and will start the job Oct. 25 if the appointment is confirmed by the state Senate.
Marion County Deputy District Attorney Walt Beglau was selected by the governor as acting district attorney. He will officially become the district attorney when Penn leaves.
"(Penns) commitment to upholding the integrity of the law and to serving taxpayers are the qualities needed in a lottery director, Kulongoski said in a written statement.
Penn, who has been Marion Countys district attorney for nearly 20 years, said he began considering the position when the governor called him several weeks ago.
Penn expects his experience in law enforcement, management and budgeting, and his work with citizen commissions and the Legislature to help him in his new job.
Instead of a staff of 90, Penn will supervise about 385 at the Lottery. He will work with its five-member citizen commission, and earn a salary of about $120,000 per year about $6,000 more than he currently makes.
The voter-established Oregon Lottery began in 1985 and generates $350 million for the state annually.
It recently was plagued by problems, including a 2002 audit that questioned about $750,000 in expenditures within the agency.
Brenda Rocklin, a former assistant attorney general, was appointed to lead the agency and put new spending controls in place. She was appointed in August as interim president of SAIF Corp.
Penn said he will continue the same type of leadership that Rocklin brought to the job.
I think those difficulties have been solved, Penn said. However, I am clear from talking to the governor that that needs to be reinforced.
A major issue that Penn will have to help decide along with the Legislature and governor is whether the state should allow video lottery line games in Oregon.
Local and state government officials were surprised by the news.
Hes been very good for this community, said John Lattimer, Marion Countys chief administrative officer. & I think people are sad, shocked, surprised, worried that were losing somebody of his stature.
Kevin Mannix, chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, said Penns appointment was a very good decision.
However, he agreed with recent criticism that Kulongoski, since elected, has appointed several white men, rather than women and minorities to high-level posts.
He has not done enough to reach out to women and minorities at all, Mannix said about the governor.
But, concerning Penns credentials for the post, Mannix said, ... I can hardly imagine anyone who would be better suited to do this job.
Kerry Tymchuk, chairman of the lottery commission, said the director needs to have complete and total integrity, and Penn has earned a reputation for being that kind of person.
I think he will be a very effective advocate for the lottery, Tymchuk said. I know he has the intelligence and the integrity to be a good director.