by Max Brantley
The state lottery commission met today. Gerard Matthews was there and will be reporting. The news seems to be that the commission has decided it needs to move quickly -- perhaps within 30 days -- on selecting a director to do all the chores that are cropping up for the commission to consider. 33 people have applied so far. The commission will review applicants next week.
Check out the rest of the story on the jump.
Commission Chairman Ray Thornton started today's meeting off by telling the other commissioners that the main focus needed to be shifted toward finding a new executive director. The commission had planned to begin reviewing applications by June 1, so they decided to move their next meeting to that day to begin the review process. The meeting originally scheduled for Wednesday of next week will now be held on Monday at 2:30 in the UA Systems board room. At that time the commissioners will receive resumes and begin reviewing applications. They will then decide which candidates to invite for interviews and further discussion. It's doubtful they will have a short-list by Monday as this will take some time.
The commission also decided to they will hire legal counsel with expertise in helping lottery commissions get off the ground. According to Thornton, this will be a short-term position. That person will guide the commission through any legal challenges they might face, help members establish rules and by-laws and offer advice on a permanent general counsel position.
Another priority for the commission will be finding a place to hang their hats. Thornton said he wants to have office space by the end of June. Anne Laidlaw, Director of the Arkansas Building Authority, was there to offer her agency's services in finding a spot. She presented the commission with a list of eight properties in various parts of Little Rock and will provide a more thorough list next week including utility costs and other considerations.
The commission also discussed the possibility of holding a vendor's conference, but agreed they were in no position to make any official plans until a director had been found. When the time comes, the commission may look at hiring a vendor selection consultant to help them along.
The commission seems to be at a bit of an impasse. The big take away is that they need an executive director who can provide a bit of direction. But for now, the priorities seem to be 1) hire the E.D., 2) hire legal counsel with experience specific to helping start-up lottery commissions, 3) find office space, 4) set up commission rules and by-laws and 5) take a good look at what their needs will be in terms of equipment and staff.
Ray Thornton will give a presentation to the legislative oversight committee on Thursday, June 4, at 1:30.