Sunday November 29th, 2015 2:37PM

6 lottery officials' pay boosted more than $10,000

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia Lottery officials are receiving large raises at a time when state lawmakers had to slash the state's HOPE scholarship program, which is paid out of ticket sales.

Six of the lottery's top executives saw boosts in base pay last year of more than $10,000, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported ( ).

Records obtained by the newspaper show that former lottery President Margaret DeFrancisco received $142,475 for "unused leave" when she retired in mid-November 2012. That money came on top of the $141,753 in salary she earned for the 4 1/2 months she worked that fiscal year before she retired.

In 2013, after state law curtailed widespread bonuses for lottery employees, bonuses were down. But all 10 executives below the lottery president saw their base pay rise.

Lottery officials said Friday their overall payroll - salaries and bonuses - has decreased nearly 4 percent since 2009, while ticket sales have continued to grow most years since then.

But the recent payouts surprised some members of the General Assembly, which has raised questions about salaries and bonuses at the lottery at a time when they've had to deny state employees and teachers cost-of-living raises since the start of the Great Recession.

"We've cut back on paying for tuition, so kids and moms and dads are paying more, but we're loading more into the pockets of people managing the fund," said state Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans.

"And then we have boards doing things like this, giving raises, giving huge payouts, it's troubling," Harbin said. "It's troubling, to put it mildly."

The lottery, considered one of the best in the nation, funds the HOPE Scholarship and pre-kindergarten classes. Even booming ticket sales, however, have struggled to keep up with growth in those programs. When lawmakers approved legislation in 2011 to prevent the programs from going broke, part of the deal was a severe curtailing of lottery staff bonuses.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US stocks post sixth straight year of gains
U.S. stocks ended a strong 2014 with moderate declines Wednesday.
4:43PM ( 10 months ago )
Palestinians push ahead in pursuit of war crimes charges against Israel
Stung by a resounding defeat in the U.N. Security Council, the Palestinians announced Wednesday that they joined the International Criminal Court to pursue war crimes charges against Israel.
1:57PM ( 10 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 10 months ago )
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 10 months ago )
Sheriff: Man shot 2 on I-85 because he wanted car
A 22-year-old man shot two people who stopped to give him a ride on Interstate 85 in South Carolina on Christmas Eve because he wanted their car to drive to Georgia, a sheriff said Wednesday.
5:21PM ( 10 months ago )
Local/State News
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 10 months ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 10 months ago )
Conviction of Putin foe sets off protest in Moscow
President Vladimir Putin's chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia's boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.
6:03PM ( 10 months ago )
Georgia's Richt stepping down following 'mutual' decision
Georgia coach Mark Richt is stepping down after 15 seasons in what is being called a "mutual" decision...
By AccessWDUN Staff
1:05PM ( 1 hour ago )
Hall Co Fire Services hosting bicycle helmet fitting and giveaway event
Hall County Fire Services will be sponsoring a free bike helmet giveaway on Monday.
By Russell Brown
11:54AM ( 2 hours ago )
32,000 acres selected for 2015-2016 prescribed burn season in North Ga.
Fire managers with the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest have begun the first of several prescribed burns as part of the U.S Department of Agriculture's (USDA) "2015-2016 prescribed fire season."
7:34AM ( 7 hours ago )
Run game, defense helps Dogs seal victory over Jackets, 9-win campaign
Mark Richt trotted over to a corner of Bobby Dodd Stadium, where the Georgia band played and the red-clad faithful had nothing but cheers for the embattled coach.
11:59PM ( 14 hours ago )
IRS phone scammers are making calls again in Hall Co.
Hall County authorities say there's been a resurgence of phone calls from scammers posing as IRS agents.
11:59AM ( 1 day ago )