Frances Rogers hung up the phone during a conference call to discuss a new lottery president last week and immediately resigned, she recalled in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“There were things that were said, and I decided I was not going to be able to be part of the process,” she said.
“I felt like there was undue influence on us,” she added. “I feel like the independence of the board has sort of been taken away.”
Brian Robinson, spokesman for Gov. Nathan Deal, said the governor’s chief of staff called board members individually nearly two months ago to tell them who the governor’s choice for the job was. He said it was Debbie Dlugolenski Alford, director of the governor’s Office of Planning and Budget and a member of the lottery board.
Rogers said her decision to resign had nothing to do with Alford or anyone else on the board. Rather, it was her concerns about “how the process was broken” when word got out that one candidate was backed by the governor.
Rogers said the board posted the job on lottery websites across the country but got only 11 resumes, none from Georgia Lottery staffers and none from the people the board had hoped would apply.
By comparison, the state had 300 applicants when the job was last open in 2003.
“Would you have quit your top lottery job somewhere and applied for one somewhere where you knew you weren’t welcome by the governor?” Rogers asked.
The board is expected to approve the appointment of Alford on Oct. 23.