Knox Tourism Chief Retires Under Political Pressure

In the face of intense political pressure, the board of the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corp. on Friday voted to accept the retirement of Ray, who is the organization’s president and CEO and has drawn criticism for a compensation package that exceeds $400,000, reports Josh Flory.
The board hasn’t yet achieved closure, though. Ray’s retirement is contingent upon the two sides reaching an agreement about its terms. If no agreement is reached, the board appears willing to fire Ray at a meeting in two weeks, but it will have to decide if there is legal cause for such an action under her contract.
Ray told the board on Friday that she does not believe termination with cause is warranted, but if she is fired without cause Ray is entitled to three months of compensation as severance. Whatever the outcome, the forced retirement represents a stunning fall from grace for a woman who has been a trailblazing leader in Knoxville.
Ray was the first women’s athletic director at the University of Tennessee, the first woman to serve as commission chair of the Knoxville Utilities Board, and in 2010 was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. In addition, KTSC operates out of a building on Gay Street that bears her name.

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