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Scott hires Tally PR consultant Cynthia O’Connell to head Lottery dept.

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 by Dara Kam

Gov. Rick Scott tapped Tallahassee public relations consultant Cindy O’Connell to head the state’s Florida Lottery department.

O’Connell previously served on the start-up team for the Florida Lottery after voters approved the department in 1986.

O’Connell is the widow of the late Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen O’Connell, who also served as the president of the University of Florida. Cindy O’Connell spent a decade as a UF trustee.

“Cindy brings an impressive record of leadership and brand management to the Florida Lottery and will improve the agency’s important mission of maximizing revenues for the enhancement of public education in Florida,” Scott said in a statement announcing O’Connell’s appointment.

Questions about the Florida Lottery? Call Texas!

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 by Dara Kam

With more than 1 million Floridians out of work, Florida taxpayers are footing the bill for the salaries for out-of-state workers.

This time, it’s Florida Lottery vendor GTECH’s workers in Texas that are the beneficiaries. GTECH’s call center is located in Austin and that’s where calls regarding the Lottery’s on-line tickets and other products are answered.

And lawmakers don’t even know how many jobs are at stake in Texas because the private contractors hired by the state to handle call lines won’t give up their number of employees or where they’re located, according to legislative analyst Emily Leventhal.

Sen. Ted Deutch, a Boca Raton Democrat who sits on the committee, asked Leventhal how many of the 16 private call centers were located outside Florida.

Only GTECH’s, she told him.

“And do you know how many people the state of Florida is paying to work in Austin, Texas?” Deutch asked.

“I do not,” Leventhal replied.

“I think that would be worthwhile information for this committee,” Deutch said.

An incensed Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander agreed.

“If they take the cash or check they can tell us what we want to know,” said Alexander, R-Lake Wales.

Last year, the Department of Children and Families got in hot water because the agency’s food stamp contractor, JP Morgan Chase, routed questions about food stamp services to a call center based in India. The vendor stopped sending the calls overseas and instead sent them to Ohio and Illinois.

The head of the state’s tourism agency also earned the wrath of lawmakers last year when lawmakers found out that calls to Visit Florida were being answered in Missouri. The agency later canceled the contract.

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