The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

SC Lottery Eschews National Search, Chooses Bethea

with one comment


Paula Harper Bethea was named executive director of the S.C. Lottery Tuesday.

Paula Harper Bethea was named the new executive director of the S.C. Education Lottery Tuesday, even though a planned national search to fill the top position apparently never took place.

Bethea took over on an interim basis in July when executive director Ernie Passailaigue resigned to start the Arkansas lottery.

At that time, The State newspaper reported that a national search was under way to find a permanent executive director. Lottery Commission Chairman Tim Madden said that process would take about six months and that Bethea would not be a candidate for the permanent post.

According to Wednesday’s story, “The commission may be poised to take some criticism for filling the game’s top slot with Bethea, rather than someone with hands-on lottery experience, but the commission was resolute in its choice of Bethea.”

“This decision seems almost obvious,” said commissioner James J. Bailey Jr. “To continue to search without seeking (whether) she would stay on would have been a waste of our time.”

Bethea is well connected in state political and business circles. She is board chair of the Centers for Economic Excellence, also known as the Endowed Chairs program; vice chair of the South Carolina Research Foundation; board member of South Carolina’s Council on Competitiveness, also known as New Carolina; former chair of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce; and a founding board member of the Palmetto Institute.

Most recently she was director of external relations at McNair Law Firm.

Interestingly, Bethea was one of the original lottery commission members and said back in 2001 that the commission needed to cast a wide net to find a director after Passailaigue announced he was interested in the position.

“I’m not saying that Ernie may not be the perfect person for the job,” Bethea told The State at the time. “We’re going to have to put this through the proper search. I feel strongly about that.”

In 2001, a lottery commission search committee interviewed 15 contenders for the job, including six from outside South Carolina.

Passailaigue was a state senator from Charleston when he was hired to start the South Carolina lottery, which began in January 2002.

Bethea will be paid $226,829 a year, the same salary paid to Passailaigue.


Written by Cotton Boll Conspiracy

September 23, 2009 at 12:05 pm

One Response

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  1. […] The current board chair is Paula Harper Bethea – a Harrell appointee – whose three-year term ends in August 2011. She also is the state lottery’s executive director. […]

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