Archive for Friday, June 7, 2013

Kansas governor’s chief spokeswoman taking lottery job

June 7, 2013


— The most visible member of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s staff is leaving next month to become the state Lottery’s deputy director.

Brownback said Friday that Communications Director Sherriene Jones-Sontag will join the lottery July 8. She has overseen the administration’s communications operations and served as Brownback’s press secretary and chief spokeswoman since he took office in January 2011 and had the same role in his successful campaign for governor in 2009 and 2010.

The governor praised Jones-Sontag in a statement, calling her a “trusted adviser.” His office said he would name a new communications direction within a few weeks, and he told reporters, “I’m sorry to lose her.”

“I’m excited about her in this new challenge,” he said. “That’s a tough job, to be the information officer for any governor, and she’s done a great job at it.”

Jones-Sontag is a former broadcast journalist who also operated her own communications company. She was communications director to then-House Speaker Melvin Neufeld in 2007 and 2008. Both Brownback and Neufeld are Republicans.

On Brownback’s staff, Jones-Sontag’s salary was $72,000, while the deputy lottery director’s job pays a little more than $84,000 a year, according to a state payroll database available online.

The Lottery has about 100 employees and an annual budget of about $335 million, although most of it goes to lottery prizes and payments to the mangers of three state-owned casinos.

Kansas voters authorized a state lottery in 1986 by approving an amendment to the state constitution, and ticket sales began a year later. In 2007, legislators authorized casinos, with the Lottery as the owner of the gambling rights.

“It’s just a great opportunity,” Jones-Sontag said. “The Lottery has had a great 25 years of success, and I’m just looking forward to helping them build on the success.”


Bob_Keeshan 5 years ago

Will she be getting a big $10,000 going-away bonus like she did when she left Melvin Neufeld's staff?

bad_dog 5 years ago

It's about time to merge the Lottery with KDOT.

deec 5 years ago

I wonder how much they'll jack up the salary for her?

cowboy 5 years ago

Another completely unqualified Brownback appointee. Lottery experience zero , large organization executive level experience , zero . Googling about she has no Wikipedia reference and LinkedIn does not indicate a degree but journalism and latin american studies , brilliant. Prior state department experience zero.

Did you know our illustrious revenue secretary Mr. Jordan , has no college or university degrees. Economic background , zero , degrees , zero.

Brock Masters 5 years ago

Neither does the wildlife and parks guy.

dozer 5 years ago

She does have State experience, she did some work for Phil Kline. And that worked out well for everyone!

Mark Thompson 5 years ago

Until they included a picture of Jones-Sontag, I thought Brownback was just making her up like Andy Dufresne did with creating Randall Stevens in "The Shawshank Redemption". It was perfect, he could write what he wanted her to say (usually something lacking any true substance and just furthering his shortsighted goals/marching orders) and then release it to the press. He, then, can claim plausible deniability and pretend to give a __. Just like his supposed claim to wanting to fund higher education at the same level, knowing all the time that his slight of hand in getting the legislature to pass his unconscionable tax package last year would force this year's legislature to make the cuts he wanted all along. Maybe he's smarter than I give him credit for - nah, just good at following orders.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

She is going there to work for Sam ALEC Brownback = diverting money to Brownback agenda items.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years ago

Good riddance. Wonder if all those lies she repeated left a bad taste in her mouth? Probably not. You need a conscience for that. I am sure we will be hearing from her again soon. It will be too soon for me.

cabmando 5 years ago

like all lotteries the odds say she won't win

George_Braziller 5 years ago

Oh the Lottery. Maybe she's jumping ship hoping to shore things up so she'll have a job after the Kansas economy crashes from Brownback's "experiment."

hedshrinker 5 years ago

good riddance, altho I have no hope that anyone w independence or ethics will be incoming as the nature of the job is to be a mouthpiece for hire. I'd say sh's well qualified for the lottery,as that's what the KS budget has turned into for most KS residents, except of course for the chosen few: big corporations: theists, and ALEC/Americans for Prosperity hacks. The real long-term needs of Kansans to fund education which will make us able to generate a workforce that will competitively position us thruout the 21st century and to fund an adequate safety net for the State's most vulnerable has turned into a casino. The basics of a decent life should not be a crapshoot, dependent on political patronage.

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