Tag Archives: commissions

Recent Haslam board, commission appointments

News release from the governor’s office
Nashville – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the appointments of 176 Tennesseans to 75 boards and commissions.
“Serving on a board or commission is an important responsibility, and I thank these Tennesseans for their commitment to serve our state,” Haslam said.
Appointment terms are varied due to differing statutory requirements or term limits determined by specific qualifications. The appointments are: Continue reading

Museum board boss: No more emailing

The chair of the Douglas Henry State Museum Commission, Tom Smith, has informed all fellow members that they should no longer email each other, about anything, at any time, reports Nashville Post Politics.

“It has come to my attention that one or more Commission members have been communicating with other Commission members by e-mail,” Smith wrote (in an email) last week. “Per my conversations with the Attorney General’s office these e-mail communications could be viewed as discussions and/or deliberations in violation of Tennessee’s Open Meetings Act and otherwise foster a perception of a lack of transparency by this public body.

“Accordingly, in order to ensure that we are in full compliance with Tennessee’s Open Meetings Act, as Chairman, I am directing that that there be no further email communications between and among members of this Commission in their capacity as members of this Commission,” Smith added (emphasis his).
Continue reading

Mike Krause named new executive director of THEC

News release from the governor’s office
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the appointment of Mike Krause as executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC).

Krause has served as executive director of the Drive to 55 since 2014 and successfully managed the launch and implementation of Tennessee Promise and the other initiatives under the Drive to 55 umbrella.

“Mike’s enthusiasm for higher education and his passion for making college accessible to all Tennesseans have led to the success of Tennessee Promise. He has been an instrumental part of my administration, leading our efforts to increase the number of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 55 percent by 2025, and I know he will use that same drive and focus to help lead THEC during this exciting time for higher education in Tennessee,” Haslam said.

Dr. Russ Deaton, who has served as THEC’s interim executive director since the retirement of Dr. Richard Rhoda in 2014, will serve as deputy executive director of THEC. Deaton began at THEC in 2000 as a policy analyst and later served nine years as the director of fiscal policy analysis.

“I am grateful to Russ for his steady leadership at THEC over the past two years and excited that we’ll continue to have his depth of experience on our higher education team,” Haslam said.

Krause takes the helm at THEC as it assumes an enhanced role under the Focus On College and Student Success (FOCUS) Act, which charged THEC with providing greater coordination of Tennessee’s higher education systems across the state, including capital project management, institutional mission approval and higher education finance strategy.

Established in 1967, THEC oversees development of the state’s master plan for higher education, makes recommendations for capital appropriations in the governor’s budget, establishes tuition levels and approves new academic programs.

In addition, Krause will jointly lead the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC), which administers state and federal student financial assistance programs, including the state lottery scholarship program, which serves 100,000 students with $300 million in awards.

“Three years into our Drive to 55, we have more Tennesseans going to college and fewer students needing remediation once they get there. We’ve made remarkable progress in higher education under Governor Haslam’s leadership, and I am excited to work with our legislators, employers and higher education leaders to further leverage this momentum to benefit Tennesseans,” Krause said. ”In Tennessee, we’re working to make sure that every student – from the high school graduate to the returning adult – has the tools he or she needs to access and succeed in higher education and find a quality job in the workforce.”

Prior to directing the Drive to 55, Krause, 34, served as assistant executive director for academic affairs at THEC, where he led the successful statewide expansion of the SAILS (Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support) program, pioneered state efforts in massive open online education and coordinated multiple grant programs.

Before joining state government, Krause served for eight years in the United States Army and Tennessee Army National Guard. He completed three combat tours as a member of the 101st Airborne Division and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

An eighth generation Tennessean, Krause earned his bachelor’s degree from Austin Peay State University and master’s in public policy from Vanderbilt University. He and his wife, Chrissi, live in Williamson County and have a young son, Max.

Krause joins THEC on August 1.

List of recent Haslam appointments to boards & commissions

News release from the governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the appointments of 120 Tennesseans to 50 boards and commissions.

“These Tennesseans are giving their time and talents to help make our state better. I am grateful for their willingness to serve and their commitment to our state,” Haslam said.

The governor continues to evaluate the state’s complete range of boards and commissions to ensure Tennesseans have a government that is responsive, effective and efficient.

Appointment terms are varied due to differing statutory requirements or term limits determined by specific qualifications. The appointments are: Continue reading

New museum plans unveiled, new leadership debated

Tennessee State Museum commissioners on Monday saw a conceptual design presentation for a new $160 million facility before later arguing over how quickly to replace the museum’s longtime director, Lois Riggins-Ezzell.

Further, from the Times-Free Press:

Meanwhile, Riggins-Ezzell was named a non-voting member of the very search committee named to replace her. She later told reporters she doesn’t want to leave the post she’s held for 35 years.

“I want to help the new museum,” Riggins-Ezzell said, later adding, “I want to stay. I am the museum director.”

Earlier, members of the Douglas Henry State Museum Commission heard from presentations from project coordinator Mark Cate, former chief of staff to Gov. Bill Haslam.

The governor is taking the lead role on raising $40 million that will supplement a $120 million state appropriation approved last year for the facility. The new building will replace the current museum housed in the basement of the James K. Polk State Office Building. Work is scheduled to begin this spring.

Museum commissioners also heard from Patrick Gallagher, president of Gallagher & Associates, whose firm is designing the exhibit experience for the 50,000-square-foot building that will go up on the state’s Bicentennial Mall near the state Capitol.

“This could easily be a multi-day experience for visitors,” said Gallagher, as he described various galleries with artifacts and interactive displays outlining Tennessee history, culture and more.

He also presented conceptual drawings, which officials stressed were not yet set in concrete.


Commissioners later followed up on their October meeting where they agreed to begin a succession plan for Riggins-Ezzell.

A state comptroller’s performance audit last year raised concerns about the lack of a succession plan while the new $160 million museum is under development. Riggins-Ezzell, meanwhile, has come under criticism for some actions and has been accused of engineering the removal of two members of the Tennessee Museum Foundation, who had raised operational and other concerns.

The foundation is the chief fundraising arm of the museum for purchases of historical artifacts and art.

Haslam’s Human Resources Department is helping commissioners structure the search, as well as aiding the museum on new workforce planning.
Continue reading

Haslam’s latest appointees to boards, commissions

News release from the governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (has) announced the appointments of 102 Tennesseans to 64 boards and commissions.

“I am grateful to these men and women for their willingness to serve and for their commitment to our state,” Haslam said.

The governor continues to evaluate the state’s complete range of boards and commissions to ensure Tennesseans have a government that is responsive, effective and efficient.

Appointment terms are varied due to differing statutory requirements or term limits determined by specific qualifications.

Note: To see the whole list, click on this link: boardappointments

TN Economic Council on Women works to avoid termination

The Tennessee Economic Council on Women is currently scheduled to “sunset,” or terminate, on July 1, 2016, but Executive Director Phyllis Qualls-Brooks and others are working while the General Assembly is out of session to win approval of a Senate committee needed to give the panel a new lease on life, reports the News Sentinel.

Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, R-Knoxville, said she’s confident that the council will be funded.

“The council has learned that they need to be able to tell their story better,” Massey said, “and talk about their accomplishments better.”

Local elected officials, including Knox County Commissioner Amy Broyles and Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, also support funding the council, which was $226,600 in the 2014-15 fiscal year.

“Our state is never going to achieve its economic potential unless, and until, women are able to achieve their economic potential,” Broyles said. “When you’re holding up women, you hold up the whole state.”

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry also supports funding the group.

“I was disappointed when the Legislature failed to renew the Tennessee Economic Council on Women earlier this year. Women make up 51 percent of the population in Tennessee, but we don’t make up 51 percent of corporate boardrooms, we don’t get 51 percent of public contracts, and 51 percent of small businesses are not women-owned,” she said in an emailed statement.

…The group, created in 1998, focuses on employment policy, education, child care, property rights, health care, domestic relations and the effects of state and federal laws on women in Tennessee.

A 2013 council study reported that violence against women costs the state almost $1 billion per year in tax resources and law enforcement costs. The council also produces biennial reports on the status of Tennessee women by county that the Federal Reserve uses, Qualls-Brooks said, “to see how well banks are doing with the Community Reinvestment Act.”

State museum board to seek new leader

The Tennessee State Museum’s governing board agreed Monday to begin the process for replacing longtime executive director Lois Riggins-Ezzell after a new performance audit of the museum raised concerns about the lack of a succession plan while a new $160 million museum is under development, reports Richard Locker.

Riggins-Ezzell has led the museum for 34 years and most of her senior management staff have also been in place for several years. The state Legislature in April approved $120 million in public funding for a new museum building on the state’s Bicentennial Capitol Mall in Nashville, to replace cramped quarters in three basement levels of a state office building where it’s been for nearly 30 years. Gov. Bill Haslam is leading an effort to raise another $40 million in private donations.

“One of the things that was significant (in the audit) that caused us pause is that we don’t have a succession plan,” museum commission member Tom Smith said during a meeting of the commission in Memphis. “Lois has made no secret that she’s going to retire. With the new museum, it makes perfect sense for this commission to discuss a succession plan.”

Smith and state Rep. Steve McDaniel, R-Parkers Crossroads, the museum commission chairman, plan a meeting for Oct. 27 with other state officials on the process for selecting a search firm to carry out a national search for a new executive director. Riggins-Ezzell has not said when she plans to retire but told reporters this summer she hopes to remain on board, while helping transition to a new director, until the new museum’s targeted opening in 2018.

…The commission also approved new guidelines for acquisitions for the museum drafted by its acquisitions committee Chairwoman Deanie Parker of Memphis. Ashe has criticized the museum staff for acquiring most of its art and artifacts from Middle Tennessee sources, with considerably fewer from East and West Tennessee.

Further. excerpting from an Andy Sher story:

Commission member Victor Ashe, a former Knoxville mayor who has been critical of Riggins-Ezzell and has openly called for her replacement, said in an interview later that “I’m cautiously optimistic that this will result in needed change.”

But he added that “until I see it happening, it hasn’t happened. I’m pleased the commission is moving in the right direction.” He said a proper search could take six to eight months.

…Bob Thomas, the Museum Foundation’s chairman, on Monday applauded the move to begin finding a successor.

“I feel the commission moved forward in a positive way regarding the succession plan. I’m happy with what they decided.”

Thomas also serves on Haslam’s new seven-member steering committee which is charged with raising the $40 million in private funds.

Haslam appoints new $158K-per-year claims commissioner

(Note: A Tennessee Claims Commissioner gets $158,556 per year as a state salary, making the job among the top patronage positions filled by gubernatorial appointment.)

News release from the governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has named Jim Hamilton of Dyersburg to the Tennessee Claims Commission, replacing Nancy Miller-Herron, whose term expired on June 30.

The appointment is for the Western Section and is subject to confirmation by resolution of both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly. The three commissioners hold eight-year terms.

The Tennessee Claims Commission adjudicates claims involving tax recovery, state employee workers compensation and alleged negligence by state officials or agencies. The commission is the tribunal that decides claims that are either transferred from the Division of Claims Administration or when the claimant wishes to appeal a decision made by the Division of Claims Administration.

“Jim Hamilton’s successful career as an attorney covering a wide range of civil matters will serve the people of West Tennessee well, and we appreciate his willingness to serve in this capacity,” Haslam said.

Hamilton, 59, is a partner in the Law Firm of Jones, Hamilton & Lay in Dyersburg. He has been with the firm since 1982.

“I want to thank Governor Haslam for the appointment. I am honored by the confidence the governor has shown in me,” Hamilton said. “I will do my best daily to justify that confidence in my work as claims commissioner.”

He received a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 1978 and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., in 1981.

Hamilton, who grew up in Trenton, has served as director of the First South Bank Advisory Board since 2003 and is a past chairman of the McIver’s Grant Public Library Board (2000-2011). He is active in the Dyer County Literacy Program and is an elder at First Dyersburg Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He and his wife, Becky, have two grown daughters, Claire and Catherine.

Note: Nancy Miller-Herron is the wife of Roy Herron, former Tennessee Democratic chairman and former Democratic state senator from Dresden. She was appointed by former Gov. Phil Bredesen.

Commission delays decision on relocating Forrest bust

The State Capitol Commission on Friday deferred action until at least to this fall on requests to move a bust of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest out of the State Capitol, reports Richard Locker.

The commission voted 9-0 to create a new five-member subcommittee “to develop a process for evaluating the characteristics of Tennesseans who should be honored in the Capitol complex” — the building and its grounds — and set an Oct. 1 deadline for the subcommittee to make its recommendations to the full commission.

Moments earlier, the commission voted to dismiss a two-part complaint filed by Elizabeth Coker of Rutherford County, a Civil War history enthusiast who wants to keep the Forrest bust in the capitol.

Her complaint, emailed to commission members, suggested that state officials haven’t determined who owns the bust and have not consulted with groups like the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Daughters of the Confederacy who she said raised money for the bust in the 1970s when it was created and placed in the Capitol. She also complained that some commission members have an “ethical conflict of interest” that she said in the email she would not elaborate on publicly and should recuse themselves from acting on the issue.

…The meeting occurred in a small, packed hearing room in the Legislative Plaza state office complex, attended by fewer than a dozen supporters of keeping the bust in the Capitol. After the vote, Coker, some military veterans and Sons of Confederate Veterans members and state Rep. G.A. Hardaway (D-Memphis) argued, at times loudly, in the hallway outside the meeting room. When Hardaway told the group that Confederacy was “treasonous” and Forrest was “a traitor to the United States.” Coker said, “No! No! Wrong! … We had the legal right to secede, sir. Tennessee voted twice on it. The people voted.”

…On June 24, House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey sent a joint letter to the Capitol Commission encouraging the panel “to begin the process of evaluating the characteristics of Tennesseans who should be honored in the Capitol Complex.”

That letter was cited as the basis of Friday’s motion by state Finance Commissioner Larry Martin, the Capitol Commission’s chairman, that was ultimately approved by the full commission. Martin appointed to the subcommittee that will study the issue and return with recommendations State Treasurer David Lillard, Fisk University history professor Reavis L. Mitchell Jr., state Sen. Jack Johnson (R-Franklin), state General Services Commissioner Bob Oglesby and state Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau. Mitchell is also chairman of the Tennessee Historical Commission.