The chair of the Iowa Lottery Authority Board is defending the operation of the organization in the wake of a report by the State Auditor that questions the salaries being paid to the top lottery executives. Auditor Dave Vaudt’s report said the organization could have accomplished the same sales and revenue marks without the change to authority status eight years ago.
Lottery Authority Board chair Brad Schroeder doesn’t agree. “The organization in my opinion does great things with rather limited resources, limited salaries, I think we could justify much greater salaries on the part of these top-notch people that we’ve got in place than what they are receiving right now,” Schroeder told Radio Iowa.
The move to an authority allows the Iowa Lottery to be exempt from the salary limits place on other state agencies. Schroeder says given the nature of the Lottery’s operation, that is justified. “You know you don’t cut steaks off the milk cow, and I think that certainly holds true with the Lottery authority,” Schroeder says.
“The fact that we don’t receive and appropriation from the state, we are one of those unique organizations that actually creates revenue for the state. If there is an organization where you don’t look to cut corners, I think the lottery is certainly one of those.” Schroeder says you can see how the move has improved the organization.
“I think it’s changed the mindset of a lot of people within the lottery organization when they became an authority, when we became an authority. there is more of an entrepreneurial spirit than I think you would normally find with lot of government agencies, those that receive an appropriation from the general fund,” Schroeder explains.
The auditor made several recommendations that would have the legislature review the oversight of the Iowa Lottery and other authorities. Schroeder says they will look at the audit to see if there are suggestions that would be helpful, but he doesn’t see the need for change.
“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” he says. “Just take a look at what the bottom line has been for the lottery in the last few years — particularly under (CEO) Terry Rich’s leadership — and the numbers are absolutely trending in the right way. We’re generating the revenue the right way, doing it…in a socially responsible way, with integrity. It’s all the things I think we as Iowans want to see out of our operation of a state lottery. I don’t see any reason to tinker with it and take a step back.”
Schroeder is an attorney who lives in Pleasant Hill.