LITTLE ROCK — The state Lottery Commission on Wednesday approved a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment for all lottery employees and merit-pay increases for all eligible employees, including its director.
Bishop Woosley, who has served as the lottery’s director since February 2012, will receive a 3 percent merit increase. Although he receives $165,000 per year with a multiplier, the merit pay will be 3 percent of his base salary of $141,603, so it will total $4,248.
Woosley told reporters that because he is at his maximum pay rate under the law, before the multiplier, he will receive the merit pay as a lump sum this year and the COLA as a lump sum in June 2014.
The commission held an emergency meeting Wednesday, with most members attending via telephone, to approve the raises. During its regular June meeting two days earlier, the board conducted job performance reviews of Woosley and Internal Auditor Matt Brown in executive session and then announced publicly that both had received favorable reviews.
Brown, who was hired in June 2012, did not qualify for a merit raise because of his length of service but will receive a 2 percent COLA, as will the rest of the lottery’s 82 employees, Woosley said. Brown’s annual salary is $110,000.
Woosley noted that cost-of-living adjustments and merit pay have been approved for all eligible state employees.
"No one here got anything anyone else in state government didn’t get," he said.
Employees who qualify for merit pay will receive raises of 1.5 percent, 3 percent or 4.5 percent.
Woosley estimated Monday that the lottery’s net proceeds for the fiscal year that ends Sunday would total about $90 million, or $7 million less than the previous year.
Earlier this year the state Legislature adopted a tiered system of scholarship amounts, in which the amounts increase each year that a student attends a four-year school, in an effort to lower expenses in response to high demand for scholarships and declining lottery revenue.
Asked Wednesday if he felt the lottery’s performance justified his merit increase, Woosley said the lottery has stabilized internal control issues, received "a clean audit" and exceeded the original expectations of state finance officials in the amount of money it has generated each year for college scholarships.
The commission hired Woosley after his predecessor, Ernie Passailaigue, resigned following two highly critical state audits and other controversies.