by Max Brantley
John Brummett reviews the latest hiccups at the Arkansas Lottery Commission and seems to conclude, on balance, that director Ernie Passailaigue is doing a pretty good job, though better on the startup than ongoing management and likely to depart before too long.
Sure ticket buyer preferences are hard to predict and they can explain revenue shortfalls. But expenses are another matter, and there Ernie P. ain't so hot. The latest was his $55,000 outsourcing of a comprehensive financial report. New lottery Commissioner Bruce Engstrom, a CPA, thinks the work could have been done in-house and the legislator who sponsored the law requiring the report, Rep. Johnnie Roebuck, is also unhappy, the Democrat-Gazette reports today.
There's also the matter of vendor contracts paid by percentage of sales rather than fixed costs. South Carolina, from whence Ernie P. came, used fixed-cost contracts, which are much cheaper. He says the percentage-based deals were struck as incentives to speed the startup. How soon do we get out of them, I wonder? I also will follow with interest where Ernie P. goes to work after he leaves Arkansas behind.