Lottery workers' bonuses draw ire

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ATLANTA --- Top Georgia Republicans are calling for a review of the bonuses awarded to Georgia Lottery officials.

Georgia Lottery President Margaret DeFrancisco and her employees collected nearly $3 million in bonuses this year, a sum that has mystified Georgia legislators who three years ago tightened requirements for the lottery-funded HOPE scholarship to keep it financially solvent.

House Higher Education Committee Chair Bill Hembree said the figures were "insane" and Senate Majority Whip Mitch Seabaugh called the bonuses "absolutely absurd" and said he wanted to re-examine the group's structure.

"There is no accountability, so they can do what they want -- take the money and run and be happy with it," Mr. Seabaugh told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution .

Ms. DeFrancisco got a bonus of $236,500 -- which combined with her $286,000 salary, is about four times what Gov. Sonny Perdue earns..

Lottery officials say the bonuses are needed to stay competitive and keep employees focused. They contend they have been good stewards of ticket money, increasing each year the funding that goes to the popular prekindergarten and HOPE scholarship, which provides tuition, book and fee money to college students who have at least a "B'' average.

"We've always had incentives, and it's worked very well in terms of motivating people," said Tony Campbell, chairman of the lottery board.

Bonuses have long been awarded to lottery officials, but they are now 10 to 15 times greater than in 1993, the lottery's first year.

Each of the roughly 260 lottery employees are eligible for the bonuses. Many of the rank-and-file staffers receive salaries and a bonus based on sales figures and personal evaluations, and this year they are adding profit to the equation, Ms. DeFrancisco said. The top management bonuses are already tied to profit.

Lottery staffers also sometimes get higher pay raises than state employees. Lottery employees got raises of about 4.4 percent this year, compared to the 3 percent raise going to teachers and state employees this fiscal year.

But Ms. DeFrancisco said some of the perks have been cut back. She also said it's not fair to compare the lottery to state agencies, because it raises all the money it spends rather than relying on appropriations from the state.

REVIEW URGED

Top Georgia officials want a review of bonuses awarded to Georgia Lottery officials.

WHY? Nearly $3 million in bonuses was collected by lottery officials this year.

WHAT THE BOSS SAYS: Georgia Lottery President Margaret DeFrancisco says lottery officials need the bonuses to stay competitive and keep employees focused.

WHAT LEGISLATORS SAY: The bonuses are "absurd," and the group's structure should be re-examined.

Comments (11) Add comment
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getalife
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getalife 12/03/07 - 06:37 am
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0
Three million dollars could

Three million dollars could buy a lot of computers and/or school equipment for our children. I think everyone should email Governor Perdue and our representatives on this issue!!

cheaters.
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cheaters. 12/03/07 - 07:52 am
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This is another reason why

This is another reason why our schools cann't get playground equipment for our kids and computers for the class rooms. Every single tax payer should be concerned about these over paid people.

pofwe
5
Points
pofwe 12/03/07 - 08:00 am
0
0
Another case of legal

Another case of legal "gangsterism" at work. Greed, greed, and more greed. How hard can these gangsters work?

september 5th
1
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september 5th 12/03/07 - 08:32 am
0
0
take at look at the lottery

take at look at the lottery website...in order to win you must live in atlanta area! the whole thing is rigged!

jhayes612
0
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jhayes612 12/03/07 - 08:38 am
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If these people are state

If these people are state employees they should be rewarded the same as other state employees. The issue that they "raise" their own funds is a non-issue, how absurd. She should be fired immediately!

HOPE
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HOPE 12/03/07 - 08:45 am
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I was under the impression

I was under the impression that the lottery personnel worked for the state! So how in the (h--) can they justify paying them these outrageous bonus's. If they are getting paid like this what about all the business's selling tickets should get a cut. Our school system's in Georgia were suppose to be the only one's benefiting from the lottery so how can they justify paying the 3 million in bonus's. What will they say to the kids the could have benefited from this money. Maybe they just don't care!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

selfab
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selfab 12/03/07 - 11:47 am
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I work at DFACS and it's the

I work at DFACS and it's the same, the people at the top get great big bonsus and we at the bottom get nothing. We didn't even get the 3% this year. We only got 2%.

oldchevy
0
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oldchevy 12/03/07 - 01:25 pm
0
0
Typical fragmentation. Those

Typical fragmentation. Those working under State Merit are the "haves", those working under Teachers Retirement are the "have nots" and those at the Lottery are the "got it made!" The schools and students get the left over crumbs.

GSneed
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GSneed 12/03/07 - 01:40 pm
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No wonder the number of

No wonder the number of scholarships are being reduced...? The old Vegas mafia worked a in a similar fashion, skimming money off the "raised" money from the casino gamblers. Who is the idiot that allowed the President to structure her own reward system? Her bonus DOUBLED her annual salary! Time to clean house and start from scratch.

Cody_Webster
0
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Cody_Webster 12/03/07 - 01:41 pm
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Stupid is as stupid does, "No

Stupid is as stupid does, "No Accountability". What group of legislative "Dips" put this program into operation?

Hope scholarship provides tuition, book and fee money to college students who have at least a "B" average. Oh really! Tell the truth folks, a $100 book voucher for a full time "Deans List" student to buy 3 books that cost $300 and change edition every quarter or semester so they can get ripped again by not being able to sell to another student and recapture some of their cost. A student fee every quarter because you are enrolled that comes out of the student's pocket, a $40 fee to graduate.

Cody Webster said he would do Ms DeFrancisco's job for
$286,000 and you can keep the bonus. He will hire a staff that will work for wages, good decent wages with no bonus.

The state could then concentrate on increasing the book vouchers for students to keep Moms, Dads and Spouses out of the poor house.

2350LEGAL
5
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2350LEGAL 12/03/07 - 04:17 pm
0
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this is an absolute outrage.

this is an absolute outrage. not only is she making more
than the governor, she is making more than the president. the legislature should watch this more closely, meanwhile these bonuses should be returned to the lottery fund.

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