October 14, 2005
Lottery commission close to naming new boss

There are nine finalists, including one familiar name, for the job of Texas Lottery Director.

A special search committee will begin Friday to interview nine finalists for the position, whittled down from 126 applicants. Only one of the nine people has experience working at a state lottery.

The diverse pool includes several candidates with extensive military experience, one with management experience at another state agency, two lawyers and the president of a lottery consulting company.


the one applicant getting the most publicity, who may have the most understanding of the Texas Lottery, is Dawn Nettles, the lottery's most vocal critic.

Nettles publishes the online lottery newsletter The Lotto Report and has spent several years criticizing the Texas Lottery for inflating jackpot estimates and bad management decisions that led to dwindling sales.

She is responsible for revealing the $1.3 million discrepancy that resulted in Greer's resignation.

"It took me a long time to make the decision to apply," Nettles said. "I know I've been a thorn in their side for so very long. I know I'm not their favorite person because I've caused them a lot of grief.

"But the players know I'm honest," she said, "and I know I'm more than qualified."

The question of honesty may arise more in this search process than it has before.

Lottery officials say the recent problems with the jackpot estimates have brought more attention to trustworthiness than experience.

"It is my intent to examine carefully each person's reputation," said Texas Lottery Commission Chairman Tom Clowe, the only commissioner who is a member of the search committee, "to look closely in regard to their understanding of integrity and honesty."


Lottery officials won't say if there is a clear front-runner.

There's a list of the nine finalists at the end of the piece. I'll bet these are some interesting interviews.

Speaking of Dawn Nettles, the Morning News has a feature on her and her assessment of her chances of getting the job.

"They're not going to hire me," the 54-year-old Garland woman said. "They hate me with a passion."

Gotta respect that kind of bluntness.

Lottery Commission spokesman Bobby Heith says Ms. Nettles is a serious candidate for the job, one of only eight of the more than 110 applicants to get this far.

"I guess you could consider her a critic, but she has been helpful with some of her criticism," Mr. Heith said. "She calls things to our attention."

Like minor errors on the commission's Web site. And that letter she wrote to the attorney general in June about the inflated jackpot estimates.

"It's something we discovered first. But her letter brought media attention to the situation," Mr. Heith said. "The resignation of Executive Director Greer followed about a month after that. That was one of the things going on at that time. Whether it was a direct cause, I'm not sure."

Hmmm..."we discovered it, but she did us the favor of making sure the media knew about it so the whole state would know what a bunch of schmendricks we are". Yeah, I can see why she's not so sanguine about her chances.

It's a good piece, and without knowing much if anything about the other candidates, I'm rooting for her. Read it and see if you agree.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 14, 2005 to Jackpot! | TrackBack