JEFFERSON CITY — A term-limited state lawmaker from Ballwin may be among at least six people vying to become the next head of the Missouri Lottery.
On a day when members of the lottery’s oversight board were interviewing applicants for the vacant executive director post behind closed doors, Republican state Rep. Shamed Dogan attended the open portion of the board meeting.
Asked if he is seeking to replace the recently retired May Scheve Reardon as the lottery’s top administrator, Dogan declined to comment.
He said he was at the Missouri Lottery Commission’s monthly meeting because he wanted to learn about the operation.
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“I’m just here to learn. It’s one of those state agencies I don’t know much about,” Dogan said.
Dogan’s tenure in the House ends in January after eight years. In August, he was a surprise loser in the Republican primary election for St. Louis County executive, falling to political unknown Katherine Pinner, who later dropped out.
Lottery Commission Chairman Lance Mayfield also declined to comment on whether Dogan was an applicant for the top job.
“We’ve done one round of interviews and we’re doing a second round of interviews today,” Mayfield said.
He said there is no timeline to replace Scheve Reardon, who left the $127,000-per-year job in July after 13 years.
“We absolutely want to make sure we uncover the best person for the job,” Mayfield said.
During their meeting, commissioners and lottery employees complained about a decision by state lawmakers to reduce the agency’s advertising and promotions budget to $400,000, down from $1.5 million.
Commissioner Bob Gattermeir said term limits mean rapid turnover among lawmakers, resulting in new members of the House and Senate needing to learn how the lottery operates as a revenue generator for education.
“They are not stupid, but they are ignorant,” Gattermeir said.
Legislative director Rachel Bauer said the lottery is creating a new newsletter aimed at educating lawmakers about the agency.
“We’re going to tell and retell our story to them,” Bauer said.
Mayfield said he was skeptical that lawmakers will alter their stance on the lottery advertising budget no matter how much lobbying and education they are subjected to.
“The carnival is set to play the music they want to hear,” Mayfield said.
Commissioners also approved a proposed budget for the next fiscal year, asking for $7.6 million for the advertising budget. Interim executive director Judy Martin said the budget will be reviewed by Gov. Mike Parson before a final figure is presented to the Legislature in January.
“We still feel like were being conservative,” Martin said.
With few dollars in the current budget, the lottery has stopped participating in events. Lottery vending machines are being removed from Busch Stadium in St. Louis and in other venues.
“There are big impacts that maybe the Legislature doesn’t even think about,” chief marketing officer Nancy Rollins said.
The lottery also did not have a booth at the Missouri State Fair in August. Officials estimate the lottery lost about $215,000 in revenue from the absence.
“We were clearly missed,” Bauer said.