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Republicans raise questions over Lottery Office hiring retiring lawmaker

Republicans in Delaware are questioning the recent hire of a retiring lawmaker to a top job at the state Lottery Office.

The Delaware Lottery says it’s hired retiring State Rep. Helene Keeley as deputy director. A state Department of Finance spokeswoman says although the hiring was just announced, Keeley accepted the $95,000 position in mid-June.

Keeley says serving on the House Gaming Committee for 16 years provided her a lot of knowledge about the industry.  She also served on a national gaming organization for lawmakers.

“I do believe that based upon my background in gaming and what I’ve done not just locally and nationally, but internationally in the gaming realm that this is really what I was looking for,” she said.

But New Castle County Republican Committee Chairman Chuck Boyce is raising concerns about the move and has filed an open records request for more information.

Boyce questions the timing of the public announcement and whether Keeley used her position as a lawmaker to line her own pockets.

“I think we need more openness and transparency in our government and our hiring practices with the state of Delaware being the largest employer in the state,” he said.

Keeley says she wasn’t trying to hide her acceptance of the position, but needed time before announcing it to give the Dept. of Labor notice she was leaving her job there, and to say goodbye to constituents. She says she also wanted to avoid a special election because of the cost to taxpayers.

Keeley also notes the Finance Department reached to her about the job as she was deciding whether to run for re-election.

She adds anyone who questions her qualifications should look at her resume, including the decade she spent as vice-chair of the House Gaming Committee.

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