The Journey of Ernie

Lottery Director Ernie Passailaigue, who makes more than $324,000 per year, irritated lottery commission members last year when he didn't know that the Legislature passed a bill that rolled money from unclaimed prizes into scholarships instead of the marketing budget. A state audit later detailed thirteen areas in which the lottery's books weren't kept correctly or procedures weren't followed. Who knows why Arkansas thought Passailaigue deserved a salary that is $100,000 more per year than the same job he was doing in South Carolina.

The 2010 Arkansas Million Dollar Raffle is also a bust. The lottery commission keeps running the same television commercial over and over ad nauseam. However, it would explain why Passailaigue was trying to funnel extra money into the marketing budget.

The ten dollar price tag was supposed to be overshadowed by the better odds of winning a million dollar prize.  The lottery website said the drawings could be held as early as September 2010. Even though the website doesn't tell us how many tickets still need to be sold, I have a ticket purchased in June. I assume it will be a while longer.

Last December, the legislative panel that oversees the Arkansas lottery said it is considering a move to reduce scholarship award amounts by ten percent. What an idea, but I have another one. Cut the lottery administrations salary by ten percent and keep the scholarships as promised.