Haslam Names Adviser to Review DCS Problems

Gov. Bill Haslam picked a longtime adviser from his days as Knoxville mayor to examine repeated problems within the Department of Children’s Services, reports The Tennessean.
In an emailed announcement Thursday evening, Haslam named his former deputy Larry Martin — currently serving as special adviser in the governor’s office — to conduct a “thorough analysis” of the $650 million child protection agency.
“I’ve told Larry that he has the full weight and resources of this office as he carries out this mission,” Haslam said in the prepared statement.
DCS Commissioner Kate O’Day has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months. Her department has been criticized for withholding details on children’s deaths, failing to notify state lawmakers about deaths in their districts as required by law and allowing calls to a child abuse hotline to go unanswered.
The Dickson County sheriff and children’s advocates also accused the agency of mishandling reports of severe child abuse. The agency’s computer system has failed to track children, and its youth detention centers have experienced spikes in violence.
…Between 2006 and 2011, Martin, 65, served as deputy to Haslam and to Haslam’s successor, Mayor Daniel Brown. Under Haslam, Martin worked as the city’s senior finance director.
He rejoined Haslam last May to serve as a special assistant overseeing the implementation of one of the governor’s signature pieces of legislation — the Tennessee Excellence and Accountability Management Act, or TEAM Act, which overhauled many of Tennessee’s civil service rules.
Before working for government, Martin worked for more than three decades in banking. His last position was chief operating officer for First Tennessee Financial Services. He joined the Knoxville mayor’s office after his retirement from banking.

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