Tag Archives: indiana

‘Chattanooga Whiskey’ Stirs Wet, Dry Spirits in Hamilton County

Hamilton County was left out of a 2009 law passed by the legislature to allow liquor distilleries in some counties, leaving the company that makes “Chattanooga Whiskey” to make it in Indiana. The Times-Free Press reports that efforts to change the situation have stirred a controversy among legislators and local officials.
That means that for now, Chattanooga residents can drink whiskey but they can’t manufacture it until the legislature reverses itself.
Two Democratic members of the local legislative delegation — Rep. Tommie Brown and Rep. JoAnne Favors — supported the initial plan that would have allowed the distillation of liquor in Hamilton. Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge, also supported allowing Hamilton County to produce liquor.
But the bill was later changed by a House and Senate conference committee to exclude various counties, including Hamilton.
Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, was vehement in his opposition to having a whiskey distillery in Chattanooga, and remains adamant about it three years later.
“I tell you alcohol kills more people every year than all illegal drugs put together,” Floyd said, noting he has a friend whose only son was recently killed by a drunken driver. “People who make it [alcohol], people who sell it and people who buy it, they have a share of responsibility [in such deaths.]”
“By my faith, I vote against every alcohol bill. I’d vote twice if I could,” he said.
Sen. Andy Berke said he voted against the bill when it originally passed as well as the conference committee report because it was “confusing.”
“It seemed to set up a number of different routes and overall didn’t seem like it was going to help the entire state,” Berke said, adding his “no” vote came in “part because I thought it was confusing as to how Hamilton County was treated.”

Haslam: ‘We Keep Chipping Away to Make It Cheaper’

Andrea Zelinski has done a TNReport on state cost-cutting ideas, including TSEA’s solicitation of suggestions from state workers and Gov. Bill Haslam’s plans to implement a new procurement system.
(Legislation setting up the new procurement plan was passed at the behest of Comptroller Justin Wilson during the last year of former Gov. Phil Bredesen’s administration. With Haslam’s approval, implementation was delayed by a bill passed in the Legislature this year.)
The governor also supports restructuring the state’s purchasing practices — a reform that has saved the state of Indiana as much as $57 million since 2006.
The main idea there is to leverage for lower prices on bulk purchases like office supplies and computers by buying the items for all state agencies at once, said Nicole Kenney, Indiana’s deputy commissioner of procurement. Officials then negotiate multiple times over one contract to ink a deal for a lower price than what the vendor originally proposed.
Before, “you didn’t even question the price,” explained Kenney. Now, “we squeeze them as much as we can until they stop moving and we can’t do any better,” she said.
Savings could take years to build up, said General Services Commissioner Steve Cates, who is in charge of managing the state’s property.
“I have found areas that have almost 150 unique contracts doing the same thing,” he said. “You could have a lot fewer contracts and work on benchmarking with where the best prices are.” Meanwhile, his office is also brainstorming ways to better manage the state’s 6 million square feet of owned and leased office space.
If the state can save $1 or so per square foot a year, that’s millions of dollars in the bank, Haslam said.
“None of (these ideas) were something if you were on a campaign you’d run on, but all of them you go, ‘Oh, they make sense,'” Haslam told TNReport. “We keep chipping away to make it cheaper.”
The commissioner said he was not aware the TSEA hopes to propose a cost-savings action plan of its own, which is set for release in January.

Haslam Picks Procurement Officer from Indiana

News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced the appointment of Jessica Robertson as the state’s first Chief Procurement Officer today.
Robertson most recently served as Deputy Commissioner for the Indiana Department of Administration managing the operations for the state’s procurement division. In this position, Robertson set policy for procurement and negotiated multi-million dollar contracts. Robertson graduated from Indiana State University with a bachelor of science in finance.
After an internship at the Lincoln Financial Group in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Robertson began her public service as a governor’s fellow. Robertson has also served as the senior account manager for the Family and Social Service Administration and the Department of Child Services and Director of Strategic Sourcing for the Indiana Department of Administration.

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