The state Lottery Commission meets at 2:30 p.m. today to begin winnowing the list of 55 or so applicants to direct the new state agency. I understand another candidate with lottery experience has surfaced, the current director of the Colorado lottery.
Sounds like another good candidate to run the thing, joining several others with major lottery experience. (Running the lottery is not the same as being director of the lottery, be advised, however.) The director should be a good ol' boy who'll be a reliable go-between. Conway residency preferred. Adequate pay has been approved to hire a quality No. 2 to do the heavy lifting.
A report to come from Gerard Matthews.
UPDATE: I've just received an e-mail from Tom Courtway, a former legislator and current interim president of UCA, who was one of the applicants for the lottery job. It says he's sent a letter to Lottery Commission Chairman Ray Thornton saying he was withdrawing his application for the job.
Here's his letter to Thornton and his statement saying he'd decided on reflection to stay at UCA.
He says he wants to stay at UCA, that he's tired and not sure his energy is up to the startup work ahead and:
Finally, the work of the commission and the scholarships it will provide to the students of this state will be extraordinary for many years. Neither the director, nor any applicant for a position, should be an issue or detract from the Commission’s work or mission. To the extent that my candidacy was a distraction at any level, I also believe that withdrawing is the appropriate step.
Gerard Matthews reports that no winnowing occurred today. There was discussion about how to rate the candidates. Ray Thornton favored use of a matrix in which applicants would be scored in several categories. Others, including Beebe appointee Ben Pickard, resisted being tied to a "matrix" evaluation saying there would inevitably be some subjective factors to consider. Thornton said he'd still use a matrix himself and release his ratings to the public.
The commissioners were given all 55 applications. They will review them and return in 7 to 10 days with six to 10 applicants to recommend. The application period has not ended. Thornton said he was surprised more weren't received. The widely held view that Courtway was the front-runner might mean more will apply now that he's withdrawn.