by Max Brantley
The Arkansas Lottery Commission today decided to limit the pay of the next director to $175,000 — subject to approval from the legislative oversight committee. The former director, Ernie Passailaigue, made $330,000 and a couple of his assistants made $225,000. All have departed.
UPDATE: The commission named finalists today in the search for new director, a job that had drawn almost 100 applications.
Fox 16's David Goins says the seven finalists are Bishop Woosley, the lottery's chief counsel; former Clinton administration aide Bob Nash;Bill Stovall, the former House speaker who's now the top House staff member; Richard Knight of Little Rock, a former race track executive; Charles McIntyre, director of the New Hampshire lottery; Kansas lottery v.p. Edward Van Petten and Georgia lottery v.p., Joan Schoubert.
The finalist list raises anew the earlier publicity about Commissioner Bruce Engstrom's e-mails with Knight, an old friend, about the gambling industry and an introduction he was given to Nash by state Rep. Tracy Steele, who's a tenant in a building owned by Engstrom. Engstrom has said he won't participate in votes on the new director to remove any concern about appearances. He said he didn't participate in any of the decisions on finalists.
At $175,000, the new director would have the 10th highest pay among 43 states and the District of Columbia that have lotteries, according to data compiled by the Lottery Commission staff, Fox 16 said.