Tag Archives: consultants

Matheny speech on TNGOP ‘crisis’ spurned

The Tennessee Republican Party Executive Committee took a vote Saturday on whether to let state Rep. Judd Matheny address the body on his belief the party faces a “crisis,” in part over leadership ties to a consulting firm that helped challengers attack him and other incumbents in this year’s primary elections.

The result, according to The Tennessean: 24 voted to let Matheny talk; 35 voted no.

In recent months, Matheny has taken issue with the fact that Southland Advantage – a company founded by Taylor Ferrell, who is the wife of the party’s political director, Walker Ferrell – was once hired by candidates running against Matheny, Rep. Courtney Rogers, R-Goodlettsville, and U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais.

All three lawmakers beat their challengers in the state’s Aug. 4 primary election.

Several party members, including Wilson County Republicans, have called for the firing of Walker Ferrell, as well as party chairman Ryan Haynes and Brent Leatherwood, the state party’s executive director, arguing that they have condoned activity that undermines the work of incumbent Republicans.

…Matheny later told The Tennessean that he hoped to provide SEC members with a packet of information that included a two-page speech, his April letter and other notes about Southland Advantage’s involvement in primary election races.

…“We are here today because we know and the public knows that our party is in crisis,” Matheny wrote in his prepared remarks. “We are at a point where we have to make a choice. We either work to restore our party to one that conducts its business with integrity and based on principles, or we stand by and watch it decline into Obama-like lawlessness.”

… Matheny said the party cannot continue to “buddy up with people of questionable ethical behavior who for their own personal benefit and ambition are willing to lie, cheat and bend the rules until they become unrecognizable.”

Haynes has previously said that no party staff members have been involved in any Republican primaries. In an email sent to SEC members in May, Haynes said the party has a long-standing policy of staying out of primary elections but the bylaws do not prevent “vendors or spouses of staffers from engaging in primaries.”

…Matheny also said Haynes originally told him he could address the SEC but was removed from the agenda during a last minute administrative meeting held Friday night.

Haynes confirmed that the party’s administrative committee voted against Matheny speaking but added that he supported the lawmaker.

“I think it would’ve been in the best interest of the party to allow him to have an opportunity to speak,” he said, adding that he and Matheny disagree on the facts.

Matheny said Haynes has been “very disingenuous” with him, adding that the chairman told him Saturday morning that he would “lobby” for the lawmaker to address the audience. Matheny also said he would only talk to Haynes via email or in public because “I can’t trust him.”

Haynes said he was sorry Matheny felt that way about him and that he believes the lawmaker is “an outstanding conservative legislator.”

On ‘Obsolete’ State Structures & the T3 Plan

A study commissioned by the state has found four state office buildings to be “old and obsolete” — the Cordell Hull State Office Building and John Sevier State Office Building in Nashville, the Donnelly J. Hill State Office Building in Memphis and the Chattanooga State Office Building.
The latter is the central focus of an Andy Sher article in the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. It was found to need $8.5 million in renovations, purchased by the state for $5.85 million in 1981 and subsequently renovated.
John Fetz, senior managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle, told State Building Commission members this summer they should start looking to move offices in all four buildings into other space.
…In its study for a proposed state “master plan,” Jones Lang LaSalle examined 33 of the 156 buildings managed by the Department of General Services. The 33 buildings collectively amount to 4.6 million square feet of office space.
The consultants identified an estimated $241.1 million worth of problems requiring immediate or short-term investments in the 33 buildings. They also called for a modern facility management and operation model.
The Jones Lang LaSalle study dovetails with Gov. Bill Haslam’s ambitious statewide Transforming Tennessee for Tomorrow (T3) plan.
T3 aims to move a number of operations and employees from leased office space into state-owned buildings.
The Department of General Services aims to slash operating costs by concentrating workers more closely and boosting efficiency through updated office environments that spur greater collaboration, according to the plan.
Officials aim to cut the amount of owned and leased office space by nearly 1 million square feet from the present 5.47 million square feet over 10 years and save close to 10 percent, or $102.7 million, in operating costs.
Under Jones Lang LaSalle’s proposed facility recommendations, Tennessee could save $18.8 million in operating costs a year.
…Final recommendations on the Chattanooga building are still under review, said Kelly Smith, spokeswoman for General Services Commissioner Steve Cates.
The building is one of the state’s most underused, figures show. The state could move many Chattanooga employees from leased space to that building, or agencies now in the building could move to leased quarters, Smith said.
Smith said a decision would come later this year or early in 2013.
She said the state for years has not “invested the capital needed to keep the buildings up” adequately. The Haslam administration took office 20 months ago.

On What Excites Haslam as He Walks a Fine Line

Gov. Bill Haslam poinfed out to Stateline that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of consultants working for the Tennessee Department of Transportation. And that is used to make a point in contrating Haslam to some other Republican governors.
The problem, Haslam explains, is that the state instituted a hiring freeze and a salary freeze a few years ago. When engineers left, the state couldn’t replace them. So it hired consultants, including some of the same engineers who had just left. “It ended up costing us two or three times as much,” Haslam tells Stateline. “Well, that’s crazy. We think we can take, of that money, a good chunk of it and refurbish a bridge and build a new road.”
“This,” Haslam says, “is the kind of stuff that I get excited about.”
That alone makes him unusual among recently installed Republican governors. For most of the others in his GOP class of 2010, excitement has meant having Democratic opponents flee the state as a delaying tactic, showing up on vice presidential short lists and leading the national news. Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, South Carolina’s Nikki Haley, Florida’s Rick Scott and Maine’s Paul LePage, among others, quickly became national stars, symbols or pariahs — depending on one’s perspective.
With very little notice outside Tennessee’s borders, however, Haslam has had as much success enacting an ambitious agenda as any new governor over the last two years. One reason he has received little attention is that his priorities–government management, economic development and education, to the exclusion of almost everything else–reflect someone who gets excited about state budget line items, not national politics.
…Haslam’s most prominent role on the national stage so far hasn’t been as a Republican attack dog. It’s been as a lead advocate for a key bipartisan priority of governors and state legislators: federal legislation to require online retailers to collect state sales taxes. Haslam has been an eager supporter of Mitt Romney in both the Republican primary and the general election, but he still praises the Obama administration for its work on charter schools and teacher evaluations.
…What is clear is that Haslam will have to continue walking a fine line if he wants to appeal to his party’s most fervent conservatives and its more moderate members while advancing his ambitious plans. The next topic the governor wants to tackle is higher education. He says the state needs to address the “iron triangle” of cost, quality and access. But it’s a certainty that cultural issues will continue to intrude.
Haslam, true to form, downplays the differences. “Are there people within the party that come from all different perspectives? Sure,” he says. “But I don’t think there’s any sense that within the Tennessee Republican Party there’s this great divide and this battle for the soul of the party. I don’t think that.”

Gordon, Tanner Now Lobbyists; Wamp Still ‘Strategic Consultant’

Federal law says that congressmen can’t become a lobbyist for a year after leaving office. The Hill reports that about 30 former lawmakers who served in the 111th Congress — for whom the year has now passed — are now employed at law firms, lobby shops, trade groups and think tanks that are registered to lobby.
Yet only 10 of those individuals are themselves registered to lobby. Among them are former Tennessee Democratic Reps. Bart Gordon and John Tanner.
On the other hand, former Republican Rep. Zach Wamp is among the majority who remain a “strategic consultant” on getting government contracts and the like — without registering as a lobbyist.
Excerpt from the article:
Former lawmakers at the registered firms say they want to stay involved in public policy debates but find trooping up to Capitol Hill to advocate for clients unappealing. Corporate headhunters say ex-lawmakers are wary of the
“Scarlet L” — the taint of being a registered lobbyist — because it could hinder future political ambitions.
Chris Jones, managing partner of CapitolWorks, said former lawmakers are avoiding the lobbyist tag by working as “senior advisers” at law firms and lobby shops.
“According to their job definition, they are not really meeting the lobbying threshold. … They are probably managing the effort rather than physically lobbying for the client. This is the 30,000-foot view of the project,” said Jones, who recruits lawyers and lobbyists for firms. “That seems to be the scarlet letter. People like to throw it around with disgust.”

Governor Helps ‘Roll Out Red Carpet’ for Corporate Consultants

The governor, mayors and Greater Memphis Chamber rolled out the red carpet Wednesday for about a dozen people who advise businesses where in the world to build or relocate, reports the Commercial Appeal.
When all other factors among competing cities are about even, building relationships between local leaders and corporate decision-makers is crucial, said one of the visiting site-selection consultants, Robert M. Ady of the Chicago-based Ady International Company. “Here, it’s been demonstrated in spades, in my opinion,” he said of Memphis.
…Ady and his fellow travelers had just been treated to a lunch at The Peabody, given time with with FedEx chairman Frederick W. Smith, and greeted royally by Gov. Bill Haslam, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.
After lunch, the Greater Memphis Chamber’s “2011 Red Carpet Tour” continued as the consultants boarded a bus. They were to see first-hand Memphis Bioworks, Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Park and the CN/CSX intermodal facility, Smith & Nephew, and the Bartlett life science corridor.