Tag Archives: appointment

Gobble Appointment Inspires Ethical Questions

Cari Wade Gervin provides a detailed critique of former Bradley County Sheriff Tim Gobble’s appointment of former Bradley County Sheriff Tim Gobble by Gov. Bill Haslam to the state Board of Parole under the headline, “Haslam’s New Parole Board Appointee Doesn’t Believe in Separation of Church and State or, Apparently, Ethics.”
An excerpt:
In February, Gobble resigned from his position after a string of malfeasances, including abusing the city’s Facebook page; hiring a 19-year old friend from church he referred to as his “Jedi Knight” as the city’s communications director at $35,000 a year and then, when realizing that the appointment violated city code, deleting the code from the website in the hopes that no one would find out; threatening and suspending a court clerk over a case Gobble’s daughter was involved in; and even using his city credit card to pay for regular trips to Baskin Robbins as a “justifiable business expense.” (The last one we can at least understand — ice cream is pretty necessary to human existence.)
….And it’s true, Gobble does have lots of experience in law enforcement, which is conceivably a good quality for someone tasked with the ability to grant offenders parole. However, it turns out that Gobble wasn’t really good at those jobs either. He was reportedly fired from his position in the Secret Service and forced to resign from his position as director of the Bradley County Emergency Agency for violations of the Hatch Act — i.e., the law that prevents people using their offices to conduct campaign activities on the job. (Similar violations had previously forced him off the Cleveland City Council.)
Then, just before Gobble left his job as Bradley County Sheriff, the jail almost lost its certification with the Tennessee Corrections Institute for overcrowding, mold in the kitchen, and standing water in at least one cell. But all of that was ok with Gobble, we guess, because it seems his main concern with running a prison wasn’t maintaining it but rather bringing prisoners to Jesus. In a rather long essay, apparently penned while on the job and then posted to the actual official Bradley County Sheriff’s website, Gobble explains how “Our Christian Heritage” — that’s the essay’s title — is influencing how he runs his jail.

Two 2014 Appeals Court Vacancies Draw 25 Applications

News release from Administrative Office of the Courts:
Nashville, Tenn. – Three judges, one magistrate and 21 attorneys have applied to fill anticipated 2014 vacancies on the Tennessee Court of Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals.
The openings are the result of announcements by Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Cottrell and Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Joseph Tipton that they will not seek re-election in August 2014, creating vacancies effective Sept. 1, 2014. Because statutory provisions for the Judicial Nominating Commission expire June 30, 2013, the commission will meet this month to select a slate of candidates for Gov. Bill Haslam to choose from.
…The Judicial Nominating Commission will meet Thursday, June 27 in Chattanooga to interview and hear public comments regarding the 15 applicants who have applied to fill the vacancy on the Court of Criminal Appeals Eastern Division.
The Judicial Nominating Commission will meet Friday, June 28 in Nashville to interview and hear public comments regarding the 10 applicants who have applied to fill the vacancy on the Court of Appeals Middle Division.
(The panel is still accepting applications for a third 2014 vacancy — the seat now held by West Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Alan Highers.)
Note: List of the applicants is below.

Continue reading

House Gives Final Approval to Judicial Selection Constitutional Amendment

The House gave final approval Monday to a statewide referendum in November, 2014, on amending the Tennessee constitution to allow the governor to directly appoint judges of the Supreme Court and courts of appeal, subject to confirmation of the Legislature.
The constitutional amendment proposed in SJR2 would also provide for a yes-no retention election for the appointed judges when they seek a new term every eight years. In that respect, it is similar to the system now in place.
But the present system requires the governor to appoint the state’s top judges from a list of nominees submitted by a special nominating commission. The commission is eliminated under the proposal and instead the nominees would face confirmation by both the state House and Senate, though if there is no legislative vote on confirmation within 60 days, it is automatically confirmed.
The measure, sponsored in the House by Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, was approved on a 74-14 vote, well above the two-thirds majority required to send the amendment to voters. On the House floor, there was no debate or discussion beyond Lundberg’s brief description of the measure.
The Senate approved the amendment 29-2 on Feb. 21.
The proposal is the second constitutional amendment to be proposed for the statewide ballot next year. Already approved was a proposal to insert into the constitution a provision intended to reverse a 2000 state Supreme Court ruling that says women have greater rights to an abortion in Tennessee than granted in the U.S. Constitution.

Constitutional Amendment on Judicial Appointments Advances

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A proposal to amend the state constitution to allow the governor to appoint appellate judges is headed for a vote on the Senate floor.
The measure sponsored by Sen. Brian Kelsey, a Germantown Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, passed the committee 8-1 on Tuesday and is being scheduled for a full Senate vote. (Note: The no came from Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville.)
John Jay Hooker, a two-time Democratic Party nominee for governor and vocal opponent of the measure, spoke before the vote and told members of the committee that “people want the right to elect these judges.”
Also Tuesday, members of the committee unanimously approved a measure that would prohibit courts from subpoenaing the names of anonymous commenters on news websites.
The measure, also sponsored by Kelsey, is headed for a full Senate vote.

Ramsey, Kyle Bicker (through flacks) Over Ethics Appointment

The Tennessean has a write-up on Larry Brown, a retired FBI agent, continuing to serve on the Tennessee Ethics Commission even though his term officially expired two years ago. Brown has continued to serve, as state law permits, pending the appointment of a successor.
Brown’s seat must be filled with a Democrat by Republican Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, the Senate speaker. Ramsey puts the blame on the Senate Democratic Caucus, which has failed to submit recommendations as required by state law.
“Lt. Gov. Ramsey is prevented by statute from filling this vacancy until a recommendation has been received from Democratic Leadership,” Ramsey spokesman Adam Kleinheider said. “The lieutenant governor’s office has repeatedly contacted Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle over the last two years to provide a name. Sen. Kyle has thus far refused to do so. The lieutenant governor is strongly committed to assisting the valuable mission of the Ethics Commission. Unfortunately, his efforts here have been stymied by the inaction of the Democratic Leader.”
Senate Democratic Caucus spokesman Colby Sledge confirmed that no names have been submitted, but noted that Brown, a Memphis lawyer, has continued serving on the commission while awaiting the appointment of a replacement.
“The Senate Democratic Caucus takes the duties of the Ethics Commission seriously, and is committed to providing a strong list of candidates for this position,” Sledge said. “It should be noted that the caucus’s previous appointment is still serving on the commission, meaning there is currently no vacancy at that position.”
While there are no geographic requirements for appointments to the Ethics Commission, Sledge said, the Democratic caucus wants to replace Brown with another West Tennessee representative on the board. Despite a delay already two years long, Sledge said he expects the caucus to act quickly when the General Assembly reconvenes in 2012 because it will be an election year that could produce numerous cases for the commission to consider
.