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January 29, 2013

Pay hike for Lottery director recommended

BOSTON - As Treasurer Steven Grossman makes the case to protect the Lottery from midyear budget cuts, Lottery Director Paul Sternberg is poised to receive a $8,500 pay raise.

A Lottery Commission panel voted today to recommend the nearly 7 percent pay bump.

Sternberg, who came from the Connecticut lottery last year, currently makes $130,000. The raise would bring his salary in line with other lottery directors around the country, and reflect the job he has done over the last year, commission members said.

Other directors’ salaries range from $102,000 to $500,000. The head of the Connecticut lottery makes $163,644 and the New York director makes $164,440. The heads of Lottery operations in southern states pull in significantly more, with Kentucky’s making $226,800, Georgia’s director topping $450,000 including a bonus, and Tennessee’s making an average $500,000 with a bonus included.

Grossman, who oversees the Lottery, said while “there is always vigorous debate about compensation levels,” the Lottery under Sternberg has performed “exceptional.” Grossman called the proposed salary a reasonable rate of compensation.

Grossman said he is aware of the state’s “constrained resources” and salary cuts taken by lawmakers, but concluded, “I think we always have to practice the art of the appropriate.” Under Sternberg, the Lottery is on track to achieve record sales of $4.7 billion and profits of $927 million in fiscal year 2013.

“I think he has done a lot of very innovative things that have shown tremendous leadership in a very mature market which isn’t easy to do,” said Lottery Commission member Tim McMahon, a Gov. Deval Patrick appointee and former chief operating officer at the Massachusetts State Lottery.

McMahon and other commission members said they do not think the 7 percent increase should translate to similar raises for other Lottery employees. “I hope he doesn’t have the mindset that just because I got X, doesn’t mean I need to give all my seniors managers that,” McMahon said.

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