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Ousted Tenn. Lottery official got high marks on job evaluation

Jan 12, 2006, 7:18 am

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Tennessee Lottery

A high-ranking Tennessee Lottery official forced out of his position amid allegations of workplace harassment received high marks on his job performance and a merit-based raise, according to lottery records.

Former chief administrative officer Steve Adams received a 4 percent salary increase in October 2004 for his job performance, which was described as "exceptional" and "consistently outstanding," according to lottery personnel records released late Wednesday afternoon.

Adams also met or exceeded all of his job requirements in a February 2005 appraisal from his boss, lottery president and CEO, Rebecca Paul.

Lottery officials refuse to release any details of the allegations following Adams' removal last week, citing attorney-client privilege and an interest in protecting the identities of the employees involved.

Lottery spokeswoman Kym Gerlock declined to comment about Adams' job performance at the lottery.

When reached at home Wednesday, Adams declined to discuss the allegations or his job performance at the lottery.

"I think the file speaks for itself," he said. "I'm just going to leave it at that right now. I need to have more discussions with my attorney and just see where we are."

Adams said in a statement last week he's never harassed an employee.

Adams, 54, a native of Marshall County, first entered state government with the Department of Conservation in 1973. He moved to the Treasury Department in 1975, and was first elected state treasurer in 1987.

He left that position in 2003 to work for the lottery.

Adams, who was paid $180,000 a year when hired at the lottery, got his pay bumped up to $187,200 following the 4 percent raise, according to records.

While at the lottery, Adams received only one job evaluation although he was up for another one soon, said Gerlock, who didn't know the exact date.

"Hopefully I am gaining knowledge of lottery essentials," Adams said in his only written response to the evaluation.

But performance evaluations for Adams' work in state government from 1973 to 2003 were not included in his Department of Personnel file when it was reviewed by the Associated Press Wednesday. The evaluations are listed on the file's table of contents.

Brenda Boatman, records officer for the Department of Personnel, said the evaluations may have been filed with the two state departments where Adams had worked.

Representatives with both the Department of Treasury and the Department of Environment and Conservation said they had no job evaluations or any other records for Adams.

A Nashville news Web site filed suit Monday against the lottery to demand records associated with the harassment investigation, which was conducted internally by the lottery's general counsel.

An attorney for said the lottery's claim of attorney-client privilege is unsupported by state law.

State Sen. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, who wrote the legislation that created the lottery, agrees and said he was disappointed and surprised by the removal of Adams, who he described as "a gentleman.

"In my opinion, I don't believe it (attorney-client privilege) will hold water," Cohen said Wednesday. "They (investigation files) should be public record. They're (lottery officials) not acting in a matter that's open and transparent."

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