The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission Thursday accepted the resignation of commission administrator Jack Ketterer and then appointed Ketterer’s successor at the same meeting. The commission is believed to be the only one allowed by the Iowa code to appoint its own administrator.
The commissioners voted unanimously to appoint racing director Brian Ohorilko to succeed Ketterer who is retiring. He will have to be confirmed by the Iowa Senate. Commission chair, Toni Urban of Des Moines, says they consulted with the governor on the choice, and feel Ohorilko has the experience needed.
Urban says one of the factors in the decision is the possibility the legislature may decide to start internet gambling this year and Ohorilko is a nationally known expert on internet gambling who wrote the commission’s report on the issue for the governor. “So the transition is perfect, and I think that he’s gonna prove that he’s gonna do a wonderful job for the State of Iowa. And we’re excited about that,” Urban says.
Commissioner Greg Seyfer has been on the commission the longest, and said Ohorilko was the logical choice to fill the position.
“If we were to open the thing wide up and accept resumes, his would come to the top,” Seyfer says. “And we have the added benefit of at least myself working with him for six years, going through the licensing process a couple of years ago. And I think he’ll do a great job.”
Some may be critical of the decision not to open up the position, but Seyfer says they should see how Ohorilko performs. “He’s filling out the rest of Jack’s term, which I think is almost ideal in that it’s kind of a testing period and it’ll come up again in two years and at that stage if people want to open it up, that’s fine. If Brian proves himself like we all believe he will, then I think it’ll prove out that we’ve done the right thing,” Seyfer said.
During the commission meeting and discussion of the appointment, Seyfer said one of the things he also liked about Ohorilko is that he is a registered high school official. Ohorilko’s resume says he is registered to work football and basketball games and has been selected to officiate the football playoffs from 2008 to 2011, and the 2011 girls state basketball tournament.
Ohorilko has been with the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission since 2004. He will begin his job in the lowest pay range, between 120 and $130,000. Ketterer is paid $180,000, but he says that is not the top of the salary range.