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Julie Moraine February 21, 2021 3 min read
MGC Pursuit of Executive Director Continues Amid Controversy
The controversy-born executive personnel crisis at the Missouri Gaming Commission remains unresolved, as nearly 10 months later as the position of the executive director is still vacant.
Executive Director Vacancy
The regulatory body tasked with oversight of the 13 state’s casinos, bingo operations and daily fantasy sports has been actively seeking a replacement for its former director David Grothaus since May, 1 last year.
Extensive knowledge of gaming regulation laws and state government operations are part of the list of mandatory requirements for the highly-paid position, while candidates with working knowledge of the industry and management experience on a senior level of 5 or more years will be given preference during the selection process.
Former director David Grothaus quit the position after his efforts to cut spending at the agency did not receive support from the commissioners. According to the explanation in a letter, April, 1, his plans to implement cost-saving changes were blocked by some members of the Missouri Highway Patrol who were assigned to work at the state’s casinos.
Patrol members engaged in “guerrilla warfare” to stop the Missouri Gaming Commission’s executive director from replacing them with lower-paid civilian employees, and effectively blocked the potentially-saving millions of dollars plan.
Grothaus sought to reduce fringe benefit payments as civilians require much lower rates and cut excessive vehicle expenditures, which were not necessary for the job assigned, but in the end, he was forced to give up and resign.
“..it has become obvious that the direction of the commission under my leadership is incompatible with the vision of certain commissioners.” David Grothaus, Former Executive Director, Missouri Gaming Commission
License Background Checks Report
As the former Army and Air Force military personnel, supervisory agent with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, as well as a highway patrol officer resigned, the gaming commission contracted a law firm to investigate background check for gaming licenses.
Staff from the Missouri Gaming Commission testified to the House Budget Committee last week that the $400,000 report following the investigation conducted by Graves Garret law firm from Kansas City is a closed record according to the state’s open records laws.
Mike Leara, commission chairman and a former state lawmaker expressed serious doubts that the report would ever see daylight due to the amount of personal information regarding licensees and employees it contains.
To avoid sensitive information being made public, Leara said he would seek agreement from other the commissioners to authorize a release of an executive summary of the report.
Speaking about the executive director vacancy, Mike Leara noted the Missouri Gaming Commission had already received 15 applications for the job and considering starting the interview phase in April.