Facing criticism, Lottery Authority defends CEO's pay increase | KOB 4

Facing criticism, Lottery Authority defends CEO's pay increase

Colton Shone
September 06, 2019 06:40 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- David Barden has been the head of the New Mexico Lottery since 2014.


Earlier this year, the Lottery Authority voted to raise his pay from $174,141 to $220,000.

Fred Nathan, the executive director of Think New Mexico, said the purpose of the lottery is to build up the state's lottery scholarship fund.

"Every dollar that's spent on the CEO's excessive compensation to run the lottery is a dollar less for those students who otherwise couldn't afford to go to college," Nathan said.

Nathan’s group released a study on other state lottery director's pay and their respective revenues.

Nathan said Barden's new salary doesn't make sense.

"He's now paid more than the lottery CEOs in California, Texas, New York and Florida, all of which are billion dollar lotteries and New Mexico's lottery only generates $143 million," he said.

Dan Salzwedal, chairman of the Lottery Authority, said Nathan is being paid what he deserves.

“Our board decided to make it a conversion, so what he would have gotten in incentives, he would have got in salary anyway,” Salzwedal said. “So it's just changing the language. The amount of money that was increased from two years ago to this year is less than $5,000, so that was a misrepresentation."

Salzwedal said some state lotteries also give performance increases, bumping up salaries, which may not be public knowledge.

He also said Barden's performance over the years has saved the lottery millions.

“We've reduced expenses significantly,” he said. “We've reduced the amount of staff, we're more efficient, we're more effective, our contracts with our vendors are better."


Colton Shone

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