by Max Brantley
With most top-paying jobs filled, the state Lottery Commission has begun hiring workers farther down the salary scale. Even there, though, are reminders of what a small, interconnected state this is.
Example: Gwen Armbrust was recently hired as a lottery payroll specialist for $39,631, which was a 27 percent jump over her $31,303 job as higher education program coordinator at the UALR Law School. At UALR, she worked for Julie Baldridge when she was assistant dean for external affairs. Baldridge, a former employee of Lottery Commission Chairman Ray Thornton and Sen. Bob Johnson, who appointed Thornton, was the first hire of lottery director Ernie Passailaigue.
Baldridge said she recommended Armbrust after she applied, though she said they were not personal friends. “She is much younger than me,” Baldridge says. “She has two degrees. She worked her way through college and I know of her work and it is excellent.”
Ernestine Middleton, the lottery's vice president of administration, says the commission received hundreds of applications for each position. She said after narrowing down the applications for payroll specialist to 19, two were interviewed for the post.
-- Gerard Matthews
The commission has filled 17 positions. They are, ranked by pay:
ERNEST PASSAILAIGUE, Executive Director $324,000
DAVID BARDEN, Vice President of Gaming Operations $225,000
ERNESTINE MIDDLETON, Vice President of Administration $225,000
MICHAEL SMITH, IT Gaming Director $150,000
LANCE HUEY, Security Director $115,644
JULIA ANN BALDRIDGE, PR, Legislative and Commission Liaison Director $105,000
BRIDGETTE FRAZIER, Staff Attorney $105,000
WILLIAM BISHOP WOOSLEY, Procurement and Contract Compliance Dir. $105,000
MARY VANLEER, IT Infrastructure Director $105,000
ROBERT STEBBINS, Sales Director $92,515
KENNETH KEVIN MCCARTHY, Sales Training and Retailer Relations Mgr. $80,000
PHILIP MILEY, Controller $79,092
REMMELE MAZYCK, Security Deputy Director $75,000
ROBIN USSERY, Human Resources Manager $64,554
PATRICIA VICK, Paralegal $53,109
GWEN ARMBRUST, Payroll Specialist $39,631
SARAH THOMAS, Promotions and Special Events Coordinator $34,234