The Chicago-based company that holds a controversial multimillion-dollar contract to manage state government buildings and leases has hired a lobbyist who formerly worked for House Speaker Beth Harwell and the state Republican Party.
Gregory Gleaves registered June 18 as lobbyist for Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle, according to the Tennessee Ethics Commission website. That was about the time media reports emerged on how the company’s dealings with the state expanded from an initial $1 million study of state buildings into a contract worth up to $330 million, prompting legislative leaders to say they’ll have a committee look into the matter.
“Obviously Jones Lang LaSalle has gotten some attention lately,” Gleaves said in an email response to an inquiry about his new lobbying position. “My job is to ensure that what they are doing for the state is clearly understood. Jones Lang LaSalle is helping the state in its vision to save money for Tennessee taxpayers. I am pleased to play a role in telling that story.”
Gleaves was executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party when hired by Harwell as her chief of staff in 2011. He stepped down in July 2012, to become a lobbyist with Hall Strategies, which declared in a news release that he “spearheaded efforts that led to dramatic change in Tennessee politics” while at the state GOP.
News release from Hall Strategies:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Gregory Gleaves, chief of staff to Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell and a former executive director of the Tennessee GOP, is joining Nashville-based public affairs firm Hall Strategies.
One of the most experienced political and grassroots campaign professionals in the Southeast, Gleaves will lead the firm’s campaign practice as director of grassroots campaigns. Gleaves will remain the Speaker’s chief of staff until August 6.
“Gregory has run numerous effective Tennessee campaigns,” said Joe Hall, Hall Strategies founder. “He possesses a strategic mind and sharp instincts and knows how to win. The addition of Gregory to our team will provide a competitive edge to clients who operate in the public arena.”
Said Gleaves, “Serving as Speaker Harwell’s chief of staff has been a true privilege. I appreciate the opportunity that she offered me to be a part of an important time for the House of Representatives. I am proud of the many accomplishments of the Tennessee General Assembly over the last two years. I am excited about joining a dynamic team at Hall Strategies and for this opportunity to build the best public affairs and grassroots team in the state.”
Gleaves was named chief of staff to the Speaker in January 2011 and served as Harwell’s principal aide, senior political advisor and primary strategic liaison to other government officials. He oversaw all operations of the House of Representatives, including management of 130-plus staff, administration, policies and procedures.
As executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party in 2010, Gleaves spearheaded efforts that led to dramatic change in Tennessee politics, including changing of the Congressional delegation from Democrat control to a 7-2 margin by Republicans, a win in the Governor’s office and a 14-seat GOP pick up for a commanding majority in the House. Gleaves has served as director of field operations for the Tennessee GOP in 2004 and executed a campaign plan that led to the first Republican majority in the State Senate since Reconstruction.
Gleaves is a former Southeast political director for National Federation of Independent Business and was a project manager for The Saint Consulting Group, a leading national grassroots campaign firm specializing in land use.
Gleaves’ background makes for a perfect fit with Hall Strategies, which has become a premier public affairs firm known for high-impact grassroots campaigns to support public policy, legislative issues and initiatives. The firm and its principals have run successful grassroots campaigns in support of numerous important Tennessee projects, including:
Smoke-free workplace legislation in 2007 to ban smoking in most Tennessee workplaces, including restaurants and bars;
State and local funding for the FedExForum project in 2001 for the relocation of the NBA Grizzlies to Memphis;
State approval of the Public Charter Schools Act of 2002, and expansion of the law in 2005;
Shelby County approval for Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, the largest urban park in North America, and in 2010, approval for an extensive greenway system; and
State approval in 2011 of teacher tenure reform proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam.
Gleaves has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee Knoxville and a Master of Arts in Political Management from The George Washington University. About Hall Strategies
Formed in 2004, Hall Strategies is a Nashville-based public affairs firm serving a roster of local, regional and national clients doing business in Tennessee, including Life Science Tennessee, Tennessee Economic Partnership, the Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association, Humanities Tennessee and the annual Southern Festival of Books, Live Nation, NHL Nashville Predators and Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau. Hall Strategies is on the Web at www.hallstrategies.com.
News release from lieutenant governor’s office:
(Nashville) – Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey today announced the appointment of attorney J. Gregory Grisham to the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission.
A highly qualified and experienced attorney, Grisham is currently a partner at Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan in Memphis. Admitted to practice before both the Tennessee and United States Supreme Courts, Grisham has represented employers in state and federal trial and appellate courts and before administrative agencies and arbitrators in 27 states.
“Maintaining a quality judiciary in Tennessee is of paramount importance,” said Lt. Gov. Ramsey. “The reality is that our laws are only as good as those interpreting them. Having great legal minds like Mr. Grisham on this commission go a long way to keeping judges accountable to the law and to voters.”
Mr. Grisham is very involved in the judicial selection issue, having organized several public programs on the subject and most recently participated in a panel discussion for the Conservative Heartland Leadership Conference.
Active in his local Federalist Society chapter, Grisham has served as a leader of the Tennessee State Court Project and as a member of the organization’s executive committee on labor and employment practices.
Grisham is a graduate of both the Cecil Humphreys School of Law and the University of Mississippi’s Masters of Business Administration program. Since 2007, Grisham has sat on the Tennessee Advisory Committee for to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He has twice been recognized by Law & Politics Magazine as one of the Mid-South’s “Super Lawyers.”
Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) was effusive in his praise of the appointment.
“The lieutenant governor has made an excellent selection,” said Kelsey. “Mr. Grisham is an outstanding attorney, well-versed on the issues surrounding judicial evaluation. I’m happy to see his talents put to service for the state.”
The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission reviews the performance of appellate judges using surveys, interviews and other information, as required by law. The Commission uses these evaluations to publish a report in which the Commission recommends appellate judges for retention or replacement. Of the nine members of the Commission, two are appointed by the Speaker of the Senate, two are appointed by the Speaker of the House and five are appointed by the Judicial Council.
Among the qualities the commission looks for in the judges are integrity, knowledge and understanding of the law, an ability to communicate, preparation and attentiveness, service to the profession, effectiveness in working with other judges and court personnel.