LITTLE ROCK — The state Lottery Commission voted Monday to authorize Lottery Director Bishop Woosley to hire a new chief legal counsel.

The nine-member panel voted unanimously to authorize the hiring of Jean Block, currently an assistant attorney general with the office of Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, at an annual salary of $105,000, which is $920 above the midpoint salary for the position.

Lottery hires at salaries above $80,000 require the commission’s approval.

The position has been vacant since Bishop Woosley, also a former assistant attorney general under McDaniel, was promoted to lottery director in February.

Block has 13 years of legal experience. She has been chief of the attorney general’s Health Care Bureau, which deals with consumer complaints related to health care, since 2007.

Woosley said 66 people applied for the position, of whom seven or eight were interviewed. None of the applicants had lottery experience, he said.

The Lottery Commission’s personnel committee met earlier in the day and recommended Block’s hiring.

"I certainly think she’s well qualified," Commissioner Dianne Lamberth of Batesville said during the personnel committee’s meeting.

Woosley told reporters he did not seek to fill the position sooner because until recently the lottery was renegotiating its contract with its vendor for scratch-off tickets, Scientific Games.

"I didn’t want to bring someone in in the middle of that," he said.