News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today appointed Douglas T. Jenkins of Rogersville as Chancellor in the 3rd Judicial District, replacing Thomas R. Frierson who was named to the Tennessee Court of Appeals in February.
The 3rd Judicial District serves Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins and Greene counties.
“Doug has a depth of experience in law, and I am pleased to make this appointment,” Haslam said. “I appreciate his willingness to serve, and I know he will do an excellent job on the bench.”
Jenkins, 45, has practiced in the Law Office of Douglas T. Jenkins in Rogersville since 1997. He worked in the Law Offices of Terry, Terry & Stapleton in Morristown from 1995-1997.
His areas of practice have included domestic relations; probate/wills/estate/estate litigation; criminal defense and property boundary disputes. Jenkins has been owner and manager of a private family farm in Hawkins County since 1986.
News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today appointed Tim Gobble of Cleveland to the state Board of Parole, filling the remainder of the term left vacant by the resignation of Charles Taylor.
Gobble’s appointment becomes effective Tuesday, July 16 and the term expires December 31, 2015. (Note: A board member is paid $93,732 per year.)
“Tim has demonstrated his commitment and responsibility throughout an extensive career in public service, and we are fortunate to have him on the Board of Parole,” Haslam said. “I am grateful for his willingness to serve in this important capacity.”
Gobble has been interim deputy chief in the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office since May, returning after serving as deputy chief in 2010-2011. He served as city manager of East Ridge from April 2011-February 2013. Gobble was the sheriff of Bradley County from 2006-2010.
He served as director of the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency from 2004-2006 and was a special agent and supervisor in the United States Secret Service from 1989-2004, serving in Nashville, Houston, Washington D.C. and Chattanooga. He was a police officer in Cleveland from 1988-1989.
“I am honored to be appointed to this position by Governor Haslam, for whom I have great admiration and respect,” Gobble said. “I look forward to serving and working with Chairman Montgomery, other Parole Board members, Parole Board staff and relevant stakeholders in the effective operation of the criminal justice system.”
Haslam named Richard Montgomery chairman of the Board of Parole on July 1.
Gobble received a bachelor’s degree in government and public administration from David Lipscomb College, now Lipscomb University, in 1986. He and his wife, Christie, have been married 25 years and have two daughters and one son.
Note: The Tennessean adds some background not included in the news release: The move comes five months after Gobble was removed as the city manager of East Ridge, a Chattanooga suburb, after a tumultuous two years on the job.
Gobble ran into criticism for a decision to hire a member of his church as a personal assistant and for his disciplining of the city’s court clerks in a case involving his daughter.
Gobble was hired almost immediately by Hamilton County and given oversight of the jail. Gobble also has served as sheriff of Bradley County, director of the Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency and a special agent and supervisor in the U.S. Secret Service.
— UPDATE: And there’s this from Nooga.com: Asked how he reconciled his pick with Gobble’s recent experience in East Ridge, Haslam declined to comment on the issue and instead focused on his other roles in public life.
“I mean, I can’t really speak for both sides of that issue,” Haslam said. “But I think from what I’ve seen of Tim, both as Bradley County sheriff, his time in Hamilton County and his federal government Secret Service work, I think he can add to the program.”
The Tennessee branch of an online university was launched Tuesday with a $30 million budget, including $5 million in state funding authorized by initially-reluctant legislators at the urging of Gov. Bill Haslam.
Western Governors University-Tennessee will target adult students seeking a new career, particularly those who have done some college classes but never graduated, Haslam said. He and WGU President Robert W. Mendenhall signed a “memorandum of understanding” to start the program at a news conference.
WGU will offer bachelor and master degrees in four areas – business, K-12 teacher education, information technology and health professions, including nursing.
Knox County School Superintendent Jim McIntyre, who serves on WGU Tennessee Advisory Board, said it offers “an opportunity for great strides in the future” by providing “a cadre of very well-prepared teachers to add to our workforce.”
Gov. Bill Haslam has insisted that Tom Ingram, a lobbyist who gives him private advice for an undisclosed fee, does not lobby him on behalf of other clients. But WTVF reports that Haslam administration emails show Ingram clients had “enormous access” to the governor’s top advisers.
The story’s prime example is Chris and Andrea Ball, who had been cited in 2012 for operating a staff leasing company without a license, the station says. They showed up at a bill-signing ceremony shortly afterwards and a Tennessean headline on a story reprting this asked, “Who Invited This Couple?” At the time, Haslam aides told reporters it was a mystery who invited the couple to attend the signing of a bill that regulated staff leasing companies.
But emails obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates show Haslam’s administration was well aware of the couple. The Balls had hired Ingram.
His firm sent regular updates about the Balls to the governor’s chief of staff, Mark Cate.
…In March 2012, Marcille Durham of the Ingram Group sent an email to Cate, “Andrea Ball would very much like to visit with you, however briefly, regarding the Department of Insurance action that is driving her out of business.”
Cate responded that he talked with the Department of Insurance Commissioner and is “optimistic we can find a resolution.”
In April 2012, Ingram emailed Mark Cate about the Ball’s company, “Is there anytime today or tomorrow I can talk again about HR Comp Employee Leasing LLC. This is a very troubling case.”
A month after that, the Balls appeared at the bill signing.
Then in July 2012, Durham complained to Cate about a specific “fraud investigator” with the state. She was concerned about the “level of surveillance” on the Balls company.
Cate asked to be “kept in the loop.”
The emails show a level of access likely to make other lobbyists envious.
Ingram and his firm communicated regularly with Cate, even when he was on vacation in the Bahamas and on holiday weekends.
By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Haslam on Monday reiterated his support for the state’s education commissioner, who has come under fire for changes to how teachers are paid.
At least two Facebook pages have been created calling for Kevin Huffman’s ouster as well as an online petition that has garnered hundreds of signatures.
The state Board of Education approved the changes last month after supporters and opponents argued for nearly two hours over the matter. The measure changes the minimum teacher salary schedule, reduces steps in salary increases from 21 to four and eliminates incentives for doctorate degrees and post-master’s training.
Haslam told reporters on Monday that the changes are needed to further education reform in the state, and that if he were to hire an education commissioner again today, it would be Huffman.
“If you look at the states that are making the most progress in education, Tennessee is at the top of that list,” said the Republican governor. “Kevin gets a lot of credit for that.”
By Chris Talbott, AP Music Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Carrie Underwood has found her voice on Twitter.
The country music star and former “American Idol” champion admitted 3½ years ago she was afraid to join Twitter, but since deciding to take the leap in 2011 she’s embraced the social media tool in ways that go beyond fan engagement. Recently she used Twitter to oppose the “Ag Gag” bill in Tennessee, reaching out directly to Gov. Bill Haslam with a boldly worded message saying if he signed it “he needs to expect me at his front door.”
(Note: Previous post HERE)
It was the first time she’s taken a political stand so publicly, and it seemed to have an impact. Haslam contacted Underwood to discuss the issue and went on to veto the bill that opponents claimed would have stopped investigation into animal abuse on farms.
“He really just wanted to hear everybody’s point of view, which I really respected,” Underwood said in a recent interview. “So it’s kind of neat that (tweet) led to that, which was really cool.”
Dave Smith, spokesman for Tennessee’s Republican governor, said Haslam spoke to people on both sides and that Underwood’s was the only celebrity counsel he sought.
Underwood also recently declared “Hug a soldier day,” and puts her support behind movements like the “End It” anti-slavery campaign and animals rights. She has 2 million followers.
“Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a thinker and I’m a planner and I would never weigh in on anything unless I know the full story on it,” Underwood said. “So I do my research. I don’t think I’m a bandwagon kind of person. People are always retweeting sort of weird stuff. I do my own research. I’m not a political person at all. I doubt anyone can tell you what party I mostly affiliate myself with. But that was just something that was in my backyard.”
As you might expect, there was pushback. Rather than shrink from it, she responded with some grit.
“I realize it’s not necessarily so scary,” she said. “Most of the comments I get back on anything are positive. There’s the occasional negative one, but I enjoy blocking that person.”
Larry Martin is a man with a “mediator mindset,” according to Gov. Bill Haslam, who has been assigning negotiation tasks to the 65-year-old former banker for several years now.
The most recent assignment is perhaps the most formidable — overseeing $32 billion in spending by almost 40,000 state employees as commissioner of the state Department of Finance and Administration and resolving the inevitable conflicts that come up in doing so.
“F&A is an intense workout. … If I’d known there were 43 different committees and commissions I have to serve on, my answer to the governor might have been different,” said a smiling Martin in an interview at his office in the state Capitol last week.
But he did say yes to Haslam, of course, and not for the first time.
Martin took the job on an interim basis after the retirement of his predecessor, Mark Emkes, on June 1.
The first time Martin was recruited by Haslam came after his retirement in 2006 from a 37-year career with First Horizon/First Tennessee Bank and its predecessors. He started with First National Bank of Memphis, a predecessor, shortly after graduating from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a bachelor’s degree in banking.
Full article HERE.
News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Abbie Hudgens will oversee the new Workers’ Compensation Division starting July 1.
Hudgens will serve a six-year term leading the revamped Workers’ Compensation Division in the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD).
“I want to thank Abbie for taking on this new opportunity with the workers’ compensation system in Tennessee,” Haslam said. “Abbie has experience in both the public and private sectors and at the state and local levels, giving her an incredible depth of knowledge of the system. She played an integral part in shaping this reform effort, and I appreciate her willingness to serve.”
The governor’s workers’ compensation reform legislation, HB 194/SB 200, simplifies the system while allowing employees to receive benefits faster and return to work sooner, bringing increased predictability to the business environment. Hudgens, a Tennessee native, has worked with the state since 2011 when she began at TDLWD, focusing on workers’ compensation.
Headline on Lamar Alexander Press release today: Alexander Votes to Secure Border, End de Facto Amnesty Says immigration reform now goes to U.S. House of Representatives to “improve the legislation and finish the job”
Headline on Marsha Blackburn Press Release today: Senate Amnesty Bill D.O.A. In House Of Representatives
Text of the releases is below, along with statements from Sen. Bob Corker and Reps. Scott DesJarlais and Diane Black on the Senate’s passage of the immigration bill.
Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday that the possibility of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant becoming unionized is coming up as a topic of concern among other industries the state is trying to recruit to Tennessee, reports the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. The Republican governor, who opposes the United Auto Workers’ unionization efforts, said he has “heard that from some of the other people considering Tennessee that that would be a negative in their mind if that happened in Chattanooga.”
“So,” Haslam continued, “we’ve communicated that to Volkswagen. Ultimately, like I said, we want to see them [Volkswagen] grow here.”
Meanwhile, an international labor expert said that German labor leaders backing the organizing effort in Chattanooga could influence whether a potential new model is produced in Tennessee or Mexico. Lowell Turner, a Cornell University international and comparative labor professor, said he interpreted a statement last week by a top leader in VW’s global works council to mean that “We’d like to see representation [in Chattanooga] and for it to happen before we look at expansion there.”
“If we can expand somewhere else with a more friendly environment, why expand in a place that’s hostile to unions and worker representation,” Turner said he thought was the message.
Last week, VW Group deputy works council chief Stephan Wolf threatened to block expansion in Chattanooga unless a similar labor panel is put into place at the factory.