by Max Brantley
I was urged to send a reporter to the lottery personnel committee this morning. David Koon is there.
The news happened quickly: It was announced that Ernie Passailaigue had moved his Oct. 7 resignation up to today and David Barden, the $225,000-per-year vice president he hired from South Carolina, also resigned, effective last Friday. Passailaigue and Barden shared a rental apartment here while families stayed in South Carolina. Ernestine Middleton, another $225,000 Passailaigue hire from South Carolina, remains on the Arkansas Lottery staff as a vice president.
Barden, VP of gaming, was qualified to succeed Passailaigue, but he enjoyed scant support on the Lottery Commission. Barden reportedly told Diane Lamberth that he wanted to be sure his presence didn't impede the search for a new director. His resignation letter to Passailaigue is here.
Passailaigue said he moved up his resignation because of the successful launch of a new 50/50 game.
The committee discussed procedures for replacing Passailaigue. Lamberth said she didn't want to take too long, but also said she didn't think the commission should move too quickly. By her remarks, she seemed to be aiming for a choice in one to six months. The commission will advertise nationally for applicants.