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Texas lottery director stands firm amid attacks

Jul 8, 2005, 11:33 am

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Texas Lottery

Reagan Greer, the Texas Lottery Commission's embattled executive director who signed off on four inflated Lotto jackpots, shows no sign he will cave in to pressure and resign.

Greer has asked the state auditor to conduct an investigation into the agency's policies and practices, particularly in personnel matters.

"I would like your office to provide me with an objective perspective on these matters, including any recommendations you might have to improve our agency in this area," Greer said in part in a letter to the state auditor, dated Wednesday.

Greer, a former Bexar County district clerk, has come under intense fire since acknowleding two weeks ago that he approved inflated Texas Lotto jackpots in an effort to boost sluggish ticket sales.

Top officials had received warnings from staff on at least two occasions that the Lotto jackpots advertised on billboards might be less than depressed ticket sales could pay out.

The agency's three commissioners will meet on Monday and are likely to discuss Greer's possible dismissal. At least four other agency officials may be reassigned.

Greer has not given interviews and did not immediately respond to a request for comment made through the agency's spokesman.

State Auditor John Keel said he was reviewing Greer's request and would respond to it in the next few days.

In a staff meeting, Texas lottery deputy executive director Gary Grief said nothing has changed with the agency's personnel policies.

"I want you all to know that dismissal from the agency without warning, without any documentation, without any progressive disciplinary action, that's the exception, and that's not the rule," Grief said.

Lawmakers on the committee said recent dismissals by the commission were seemingly without just cause or fair warning.

Committee chairman and state Rep. Ismael Flores, D-Palmview, blamed the lottery's problems on management.

He criticized Grief's comments, saying, "He was very respectful, he measured his words, he definitely sought legal counsel. But what was being said was in defiance."

Lottery commissioners may meet in executive session July 11 to "deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal" of Greer, according to an agenda posted last week.

The notice also indicated the commission may discuss the reassignment of Grief and up to five other officials and the appointment of an acting executive director.

According to the posted agenda, the commission also plans to discuss changing the rules for the Lotto Texas game and changing procedures for estimating and advertising jackpots for all Texas Lottery games.

The inflation came to light after a long-time critic of the Texas Lottery filed a complaint with Attorney General Greg Abbott.

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