Bill takes aim at lottery bonuses

A top state senator has pre-filed a bill that would force lottery officials to get legislative approval before they hand out bonuses to staffers.

The bill from Senate Majority Whip Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg) would dissolve the current Georgia Lottery Corp. board and create a new one appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House of Representatives. Currently the governor alone appoints the board.

The measure would also force the lottery president to get the board’s and a legislative panel’s approval before giving out bonuses.

Seabaugh prefiled the bill for the upcoming 2010 legislative session after the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the Georgia Lottery Corp. gave out $2.7 million in bonuses this year, up 8 percent from last year.

Lottery CEO Margaret DeFrancisco received a $204,034 bonus, up from $150,000 in 2008. That’s on top of a $286,000 salary, which was unchanged from 2008.

Lottery officials say the bonuses  are commonly used in private industry to help retain top staffers. Georgia’s lottery, which is among the most successful in the nation, set another sales record in fiscal 2009, which ended June 30.

However, the bonuses have upset lawmakers, who fear the lottery isn’t putting enough of the ticket-sale money toward HOPE scholarships and pre-kindergarten classes.

Seabaugh has filed similar legislation in the past, but it hasn’t gotten very far. Some state leaders worry it would get the General Assembly too involved in  running the games. Lawmakers currently only have a very limited oversight role in the Lottery.

53 comments Add your comment

td

November 23rd, 2009
6:54 pm

I also want to know why she is making $286,000 in a government job? I would take the job for half and know it would be done just as well as it is now. For that matter why are all these university professors making over $200,000 per year when the state is cutting services?

bonus to legislature

November 23rd, 2009
6:58 pm

Why is it when a program is working, the government has to stick it’s nose in it. I believe we should pay the legislature a bonus if they come in under budget. Maybe their attitude concerning spending our money would change.

Hey, we all know that won’t happen. They make more money and have more job security with the status quo. None of them have the guts to introduce a program that actually makes sense.

Look before I leap

November 23rd, 2009
7:08 pm

Another knee-jerk, jump on the bandwagon, grand standing effort by one of the MANY criminally inept state legislators in our great state.
And shame on the AJC writer who mentioned the 8% increase in bonuses but failed to mention the 15% increase in gross sales AND an increase in profitability.
The 2.7M is roughly 15% of base salaries across the board which is competitive but not extragavant. Other private companies which experience consistent year over year growth in Gross and Net revenue pay at or above that rate. So before the dumb-bunny bozos under the gold dome go all chicken-little on us, let them take out a calculator and do some simple math or better yet, focus on something that actually is important and beneficial to the constituency.

Robert M

November 23rd, 2009
7:09 pm

A Georgia Republican wanting to expand the role of government into the affairs of private business? Exactly what do these people stand for anymore.

[...] More: Bill takes aim at lottery bonuses [...]

Look before I leap

November 23rd, 2009
7:14 pm

td: Running the Ga Lottery is NOT a government job.
The Ga Lottery is a private company contracted to run and manage the lottery program here in the state according to state law. The board that overseas the Ga lottery is appointed by the governor and the lottery provides a portion of proceeds to state education. Beyond that, they have no connection to the state. If you think you are qualified to run the lottery for a salary that is less than half of the current CEO, I suggest you submit your resume to the board.

Look before I leap

November 23rd, 2009
7:20 pm

Robert M: The GOP stand for exactly the same thing the DEMs do, getting re-elected. This is a stunt by Seabaugh to enable him to go back to the sheeple and brag that he eliminated abuse (the horror!) and waste (the shame!) in that is run more effectively, efficiently and profitably than any state agency has ever been.

ROGER

November 23rd, 2009
7:20 pm

491,000 salary, not bad loser. you need to ride some streets around atlanta, look at who you are taking from. you have your lottery, and tell others not to play gaming machines around the state.

Look before I leap

November 23rd, 2009
7:28 pm

Roger: No one is taking anything from anybody. No one is forced to buy a ticket. If someone who cannot afford it opts to play, sad but so be it. It is personal choice (which by the way is pretty much what the country is all about). And even if your gripe had some merit, place the blame where it belongs – on the legislators and voters who put the lottery in business in the first place. The CEO was hired to do a job and she does it pretty damned well.

mike

November 23rd, 2009
7:49 pm

The lottery is the biggest legal scam! Lottery officials only give back the bare minimum. They are cutting the Hope Scholarship. Has anyon eever won more than a lousy ticket, dollar or two on a sratch ticket?

ask a Native

November 23rd, 2009
7:50 pm

Forget hitting the lottery, how do I apply for a job with them???

ask a Native

November 23rd, 2009
7:53 pm

@ mike: not that difficult to make profits if you aren’t printing any winning tickets, huh? 8-)

Where do I submit my resume???

Look before I leap

November 23rd, 2009
7:57 pm

mike: Exactly why is it a scam? The cutbacks are due to rising tuition costs, not a cut in the money that is allocated.

Shananeeeeee Fananeeeeee

November 23rd, 2009
8:02 pm

The lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math.

Keith

November 23rd, 2009
8:14 pm

Mike I won $500 twice on scratch off tickets. What a moron.

Look before I leap

November 23rd, 2009
8:21 pm

Though hardly original, Shanee Fanee is fundamentally correct: Although it is more precise to say, the lottery is a USER tax on people who are bad at math. The same types of sheeple who pay hundreds on airfare to go to Vegas, Reno or Atlantic City, and hundreds more on hotel room charges to bascially hand over the next 3 months mortgage or kid’s college tuition to the casinos. But in the case of the state lottery, at least 25% of that money actually does go back to education.

the american way

November 23rd, 2009
8:23 pm

The lottery is a perfect example of what has happened in our country. The old adage was that you had to work hard to get ahead. That’s been replaced by you just have to get lucky, either by winning a lottery or a lawsuit. And we wonder why we’re falling behind other countries.

Larry

November 23rd, 2009
8:30 pm

Leave these people alone; they are only quasi government employees. They are not paid by taxes except those voluntarily given by Lottery participants. It’s simple jealousy driving the complainers. These people earn their money by actually producing – something unknown in government circles.

Rik

November 23rd, 2009
8:37 pm

I love the lottery. I have had three kids go through Georgia pre-K and now my oldest is in her second year of college on Hope/Accel. Next year my oldest son will join her. I can tell you that through the years that I have played the lotto, I am definitely ahead of the house. So thank you to the lottery workers and I hope you enjoy your bonuses. Also, thank you to all you poor folks that helped pay for my kids’ educations.

the american way

November 23rd, 2009
8:41 pm

something for nothing, nice lesson to teach your children

Bobby

November 23rd, 2009
8:46 pm

I don’t have a problem with the bonuses. They are being paid for out of the increased revenues brought in by the lottery. The legislature needs to concentrate on how they can increase revenues as efficiently and painlessly to Georgia citizens as the Georgia Lottery Corporation has done.

Look before I leap

November 23rd, 2009
9:02 pm

It is not “something for nothing” as one holier than thou poster stated. It is a gamble, which is what we as American’s who start a business do every day. We have a history rich in gambling. Getting on a tall ship, leaving everything we know and love behind, starting a new life here in America, free to start our own enterprises, worship as we please, vote and live a life that is conjunction with who we are as a person. Not many countries can make that claim. I hhave no issue with anyone who invests a buck or two and makes a killing. I only hope they manage to do something good with the windfall. But I don’t expect to tell them what to do with it.

student

November 23rd, 2009
9:04 pm

I am getting my masters degree at a small four-year state university. The professors teach between 1 and 3 classes each semester. They do no research and make from 85k to 100k plus. This is so frustrating to me, considering the number of hours and the stress associated with my job. NOTE: Tuition has gone up over 50% in the last six years.

the american way

November 23rd, 2009
9:05 pm

equating gambling, and pure luck at that when we’re talking about a lottery, with making a business decesion shows how little you know about hard work and making wise decesions.
Alas, Boortz may be right about public education

Erik

November 23rd, 2009
9:08 pm

The lottery is for those who like to dream. Sometimes the 5 minute daydream about what I could do with the money is great stress relief. You all not what I am talking about.

EJ

November 23rd, 2009
9:11 pm

That is one heck of a bonus, I don’t care how good you are at your job. How many of us are losing our jobs or having hours cut. Maybe some of the wealthy need a taste of that. Don’t say I am not hard working. I graduated from college with two degrees and a 3.68 GPA. But the recession doesn’t care about that. My company hasn’t given raises in YEARS. In fact, we have been laying off people. Send some of the bonus my way.

the american way

November 23rd, 2009
9:13 pm

Finally, an honest response. thanks eric, the daydream can indeed be a stress relief.

I love money

November 23rd, 2009
9:18 pm

I love the lottery. It paid for my schooling and it is fun to take that chance.

td

November 23rd, 2009
9:23 pm

Look before I leap, Does the lottery employees receive their salaries from the State? Yes. Do they get their benefits and retirement from the state? Yes.

They are state employees. The rest of the state employees are taking furlough days (even teachers) and lottery employees are receiving bonuses. There just seems something wrong with that picture.

LS

November 23rd, 2009
9:34 pm

What is appalling is that the CEO gets nearly a half million dollars to run a company which by law has no competition. With no shareholders overseeing the actions of the corporation, the quasi-government board is free to hand out lavish pay packages without any counterbalancing control. Running the lottery requires little insight, imagination, or skill and should not be compensated as if it did.

Working harder for less money

November 23rd, 2009
9:43 pm

These bonuses are a slap in my face. I am a state employee and have been for more than 20 years. In the last 10years I might have received a 2% increase in my pay. This year I am taking 12 furlough days and have been asked to have a good attitude about it because I am a supervisor. My caseworkers caseloads have doubled and the stress is mounting daily with the state office giving us more and more reports to complete about the work that is late. The most important thing is the amount of customers we have that are out of work!!! The State needs to do the right thing and take back these bonuses for these over paid Lottery workers. Put the money back into the fund for the college bound students!!
Thanks for the slap in face!!!! I didn’t need that.

WAW

November 23rd, 2009
9:45 pm

One of the few things Zell did right was the Georgia Lottery. The main “right” thing was to keep the legislator’s hands off. Since the Republicans gained control of the legislature, there has not been a year that they have tried to get their paws into the lottery. “Look before I leap” has answered the questions, stated the facts and this is simply grandstanding. btw: I like your term “sheeple”

oldandntheway

November 23rd, 2009
9:59 pm

This is a company set up by the state to run the lottery, they are not state employees, they don’t have a government retirement plan, they are not paid by the state. They are doing a great job of what they’re supposed to do, their bonuses are not from taxpayer money, why should any state employee be offended. Let them reap what they sew.

Gene

November 23rd, 2009
10:04 pm

Don’t Worry the MICRO-TAXES on the Wealty are Coming and Overdue, First in 2010 the Bush Tax Custs Expire which brings Capital Gaines back to 33%

Gene

November 23rd, 2009
10:12 pm

Don’t Worry the MICRO-TAXES on the WEALTHY are Coming and is Long Overdue, The 2010 Bush Tax Cuts Expire on Jan 1, Which brings Taxes on those making over 250K a year back to 35% and 45% for Millionaires and brings the Flat Tax on Capital Gaines back to 33%. I’m sure More MICRO-TAXES are coming to all, and the Runaway Undeserved Wealth Gap Between Millionaires and Everyone Else will come to an End and Maybe Washington can use the Monies to Pay Down This Bush/Obama National Debt or Fund the National Medicare Public Option Health Insurance for the 50 million uninsured Americans.

I love money

November 23rd, 2009
10:18 pm

To pay for the national debt the nation should legalize pot ans tax it

I love money

November 23rd, 2009
10:19 pm

Look before I leap

November 23rd, 2009
10:25 pm

american way: I might take your argument more seriously when you learn how to spell the work “decision”. And I did not equate not equate gambling with hard work. You read that into my comment.
td: same issue: when you learn proper grammar, then you can come at me.
“Does the lottery employees receive their salaries from the State?”
It is “DO the lottery employees receive their salaries from the State?”
And to answer your question: No, they don’t. They earn they sarlaries from a private corporation. They are in fact NOT state employees.

Look before I leap

November 23rd, 2009
10:28 pm

Working hard for the money:
5 words:
Quit
Find a new job

Reasonable

November 23rd, 2009
10:53 pm

Another politician lookinig for his 15 minutes of fame. He probably doesn’t even know that the lottery folks are not state employees. His ignorance is only exceed by the student who thinks his tuition has gone up 50% in six years! Maybe if you learned to calculate percentages you could finish college.

Pointing out SUCKERS

November 23rd, 2009
11:04 pm

If any of you morons can’t see that most lottery officials are grossly overpaid then you have truly
proven how big of a moron you are. Any bookie in Atlanta could run that MONOPOLY and do it
better and at a lower cost.
The lottery advertises way too much, over pays the CEO to run the only game in town(Really hard job you morons)
And hides the fact that a fair amount of money is never claimed.

Look before I leap

November 23rd, 2009
11:26 pm

Pointing out SUCKERS needs to up his dosage on Ritalin.
Can you tell me what the GA Lottery:
Pulled in in groos sales fro FY 09?
Operating budet was for same period?
Executive Comp was as % of:
Total revenue?
GOM?
Ttl Comp?
Number of FT employee?
Sales/Emp?
GOPM/Emp?
% increase yr over yr:
Sales?
Profit?
Comp?

If not, you should really STFU and do some research before you vomit your opinion all over cyber-space.

The ONLY commetn you made that has any bearing is is the word “monopoly” and I am not quite sure you understand the term in how it is applied here.

just saying . . .

November 24th, 2009
2:17 am

Look before I leap, you said: “american way: I might take your argument more seriously when you learn how to spell the work ‘decision’”
“td: same issue: when you learn proper grammar, then you can come at me.”
I say: one “not equate” would have been sufficient in your statement “[a]nd I did not equate not equate gambling with hard work.” Also, I believe that should be “comment” in your statement that “t]he ONLY commetn you made that has any bearing is is the word “monopoly” . . .”

JiMiFLiX!

November 24th, 2009
2:21 am

…completely unconscionable! they always use that lame “retention” argument in order to pay themselves fat salaries and bonuses. well, guess what? we’re in a recession. they should be getting a pay cut. and the should be happy about that. cause otherwise they could very well be OUT of a job like so many others. and THEN who would hire time. it’s not like the GA Lottery has a lot of competition. it’s a MONOPOLY, darn it. so that whole retention for the “best and brightest” is as lame as that broken down mule it rode in on…!

just saying . . .

November 24th, 2009
2:21 am

Oh, and Look before I leap, shouldn’t that be “gross” and “for” in your “[p]ulled in in groos sales fro FY 09?” and “budget” in your “[o]perating budet was for same period?”

taxpayer

November 24th, 2009
6:10 am

When the Lottery was approved by voters at a narrow margin, it was with the promise that 35 percent would go towards education. The article states that they are only paying around 24 % to education. They should not be able to use any of the 35% education fund for bonuses.

mike

November 24th, 2009
7:43 am

Anyone get the feeling LOOK BEFORE I LEAP is a lottery official? Could be stoned!

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that a Georgia state senator has pre-filed a bill that would force lottery officials to get [...]

tom

November 26th, 2009
4:47 am

I agree that more oversight is needed. Giving themselves bonus of such a large amount is sinful. The typical excuse of keeping the most qualified is garbage. I would take the job and forget about the bonuses. I am a retired military officer with plenty of experience in many skill sets. Let me know when to start.

Many USG faculty and staff, K-12 teachers and Georgia taxpayers

November 27th, 2009
8:41 am

We want to applaud Senate Majority Whip Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg) following his taking steps regarding “Lottery bonuses.”

We have been trying for over a year to get Governor Perdue and the General Assembly to bring back
ethics and accountability to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia for the now reported over $7.1 million in “bonuses” to USG presidents and chancellors (they call them deferred compensations). Both Governor Perdue and the General Assembly have been fully informed of these “bonuses” and both have chosen to take no action.

Governor Perdue stated in one of his responses to many emails to his office dated August 10, 2009 that “Georgia’s Constitution reserves to the Board of Regents the exclusive authority to make such decisions.”

If this is true, why are our legislators not introducing legislation to bring back accountability by the Board of Regents to someone other than themselves? Perhaps the new governor or one of the newly elected legislators next year will have the backbone to do so. The fact that Senate Majority Whip Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg) has stepped up to the plate is encouraging.

Jim Wall’s Atlanta Unfiltered reported the Board of Regents’ “exclusive authority” (in part below) on October 5, 2009: Link to full story: http://www.atlantaunfiltered.com/2009/10/05/university-execs-deferred-pay-often-hidden-tops-7-million/

Here’s how much university presidents have accumulated or collected in deferred pay since 2004, according to records provided by the University System, tax returns and financial statements. The figures reflect payments or set-asides of state money and, where known, of funds from a school’s associated foundation.
$1,820,697 — Wayne Clough, former Georgia Tech president (includes $500,000 cash, a $38,000 car and a split-dollar life insurance policy valued at $750,000 from the foundation)
$1,666,639 — Carl Patton, retired Georgia State University president
$1,573,606 — Michael Adams, UGA president (includes $786,106 due from the UGA Foundation as of June 2008) $600,000 — David Bell, Macon State president (includes $400,000 due from the Macon State foundation) $495,990 — Thomas Meredith, former University System chancellor (includes $180,990 from the University System of Georgia Foundation)
$480,000 — Daniel Rahn, Medical College of Georgia president
$262,500 — Erroll B. Davis Jr., University System chancellor
$127,000 — Beheruz Sethna, University of West Georgia president
$90,000 — Dan Papp, Kennesaw State University foundation
$75,000 — Bud Peterson, Georgia Tech president since April 1 $7,191,432 – Total

Base

November 27th, 2009
12:45 pm

Another Sonny problem just like transportation,water,budget,unemployment to solve.What has he been doing for eight years.Nothing!

Diego

November 28th, 2009
10:14 am

Look before I leap: How much does the lottery Board pay you for your lobbying work? Give it a break.

catlady

November 28th, 2009
3:06 pm

It is a state-chartered monopoly that has yet to contribute anything near the percentage of money it is supposed to contribute to education. Until it contributes the 35%, no one should get any bonuses, and the Board should be disolved, due to incompetence. Don’t make the arguement that it is contributing SO MANY dollars. Let it send the correct amount, before any grand payments are made.

And SHAME ON THE LEGISLATURE FOR ALLOWING THIS TO GO ON AND ON!