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 the governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Larry Martin will become the interim commissioner of the state Department of Finance and Administration (F&A) when Commissioner Mark Emkes retires at the end of the month.
Martin becomes interim commissioner at F&A June 1 after Emkes’ retires effective May 31.
A year ago, he joined the governor’s staff as a special assistant to the governor, working alongside Human Resources Commissioner Rebecca Hunter to oversee the implementation of Haslam’s civil service reform, the Tennessee Excellence, Accountability and Management (TEAM) Act; and reviewing state employee compensation.
“I am grateful that Larry has agreed to step into this position and serve Tennessee taxpayers in this capacity,” Haslam said. “He has been critically important in helping us establish the systems and organizational structure to begin recruiting, attracting and retaining the best and brightest to serve in state government, and I look forward to continuing to work with him as interim commissioner of F&A.”
From the News Sentinel website:
Federal and local authorities seized 19 horses from a Blount County stable of a walking horse show trainer Thursday on suspicion that the animals have been subjected to the practice known as “soring.”
The trainer, Larry Joe Wheelon, 68, is charged with one felony count of animal cruelty, with additional charges pending, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
The seizure came a week after U.S. Department of Agriculture agents and Blount County authorities executed a search and seizure warrant at Wheelon’s barn on Tuckaleeche Pike in response to an anonymous tip.
Authorities returned Thursday to remove the 19 horses, which were visibly in pain, including several that were barely able to stand.
Investigators suspect the horses’ injuries were caused by soring — the application of caustic chemicals and painful devices to their hooves and legs used to produce the artificial, high-stepping “Big Lick” gait.
“It’s a significant number of horses to get to safety,” said Leighann McCollum, Tennessee director for HSUS. “Horses that will never have to endure that again — hopefully.”
The Blount County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to All Animals and Horse Haven of Tennessee assisted in removing the horses to an undisclosed location, McCollum said. The Blount County Sheriff’s Office also provided security during the seizure.
Wheelon is an active director of the Tennessee Walking Horse Trainer’s Association and sits on its ethics committee, according to the Humane Society. Since 1993, he has been cited by inspectors 15 times for violations of the federal Horse Protection Act. Wheelon was booked into the Blount County Justice Center Thursday in lieu of $5,000 bond.
A former Tennessee Department of Safety official apologized to a federal judge Friday for selling state driver’s licenses and said his history of a clean record and military service justified a lighter sentence, according to The Tennessean. Larry Murphy, 54, was sentenced to 27 months in prison and will forfeit $69,500 for accepting money as a state official in turn for issuing driver’s licenses without administering the proper tests. Anny Castillo, 31, received three months in prison and nine months of home detention and will forfeit $42,500 for bribing Murphy and for selling U.S. birth certificates. Each faced a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“I am very ashamed of creating an awkward and embarrassing situation for my wife and kids,” Murphy told U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp. “I have lost my pride, dignity and respect of my family, friends and neighbors all because I did something stupid.”
Murphy’s attorney, Craig Fickling, asked Sharp to consider Murphy’s 21-year service in the military and that he had no prior criminal history.
Sharp agreed that Murphy’s decisions, which Murphy said were based out of financial concerns for his family, were “out of character,” but said his military service would not factor into a reduced sentence.
“In some sense you can look at that military service and go, ‘He knew better,’ ” Sharp said.
Castillo, speaking through an interpreter and tears, said she made a mistake when she bought her own license from Murphy and fell into a growing scheme through fear and pressure from others who wanted licenses. She asked for probation out of concerns for her three children, saying, “I don’t even want to imagine what would happen if they were left all by themselves.”
News release from Larry Crim campaign:
According to a Federal Election Commission Statement of Candidacy filed with the Secretary of the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C., Larry Crim of Nashville, Tennessee has officially announced his Democratic candidacy for United States Senate (TN) in 2014.
Records on file with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Public Records Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Senate reflect that Crim is the only Democratic Party candidate from Tennessee to file a FEC Statement of Candidacy for U.S. Senate in 2014 at this time.
Mr. Crim will seek the Democratic party’s nomination in August 2014. If Crim wins the Democratic primary, he will face the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in the November 2014 general election. The current republican incumbent in the U.S. Senate is Lamar Alexander, whose term is up in 2014. Alexander has announced he will run again.
Gov. Bill Haslam picked a longtime adviser from his days as Knoxville mayor to examine repeated problems within the Department of Children’s Services, reports The Tennessean. In an emailed announcement Thursday evening, Haslam named his former deputy Larry Martin — currently serving as special adviser in the governor’s office — to conduct a “thorough analysis” of the $650 million child protection agency.
“I’ve told Larry that he has the full weight and resources of this office as he carries out this mission,” Haslam said in the prepared statement.
DCS Commissioner Kate O’Day has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months. Her department has been criticized for withholding details on children’s deaths, failing to notify state lawmakers about deaths in their districts as required by law and allowing calls to a child abuse hotline to go unanswered.
The Dickson County sheriff and children’s advocates also accused the agency of mishandling reports of severe child abuse. The agency’s computer system has failed to track children, and its youth detention centers have experienced spikes in violence.
…Between 2006 and 2011, Martin, 65, served as deputy to Haslam and to Haslam’s successor, Mayor Daniel Brown. Under Haslam, Martin worked as the city’s senior finance director.
He rejoined Haslam last May to serve as a special assistant overseeing the implementation of one of the governor’s signature pieces of legislation — the Tennessee Excellence and Accountability Management Act, or TEAM Act, which overhauled many of Tennessee’s civil service rules.
Before working for government, Martin worked for more than three decades in banking. His last position was chief operating officer for First Tennessee Financial Services. He joined the Knoxville mayor’s office after his retirement from banking.
A Tennessee state employee charged with giving licenses to unqualified applicants pleaded guilty today to federal bribery counts in federal district court in Nashville, reports The Tennessean. The defendant, Larry Murphy, 54, who worked for the Department of Safety, had been accused of issuing state drivers licenses in exchange for more than $5,000 in bribes over five months ending in April.
U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp told Murphy, of Antioch, that he faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a $250,000 fine.
In April, federal prosecutors filed a complaint against Murphy after an investigation found that he was connected to a person suspected of selling identification documents to undocumented immigrants.
According to the complaint, when an undercover FBI agent sought from Murphy a commercial driving license without a Social Security number, Murphy made one up.
Murphy also fabricated the agent’s medical certification by altering information from another applicant, according to the complaint.
The undercover agent paid Murphy $3,500 through a third party.
Hamilton County Democrats will have no one on the Nov. 6 ballot opposing state House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick in the 26th Legislative District race, reports Andy Sher. McCormick, R-Chattanooga, still has an opponent, though — independent W. Rodger Cooksey, of Hixson.
Democratic Party Chairman Paul Smith said Wednesday that after nominee Larry Miller withdrew from the race on Aug. 24 to take a job in Texas, Democrats had only 10 days to replace him. They couldn’t do it.
“We talked to several people, but with such short notice and [name] recognition, we felt there was not enough time,” Smith said.
The party would have had to hold a caucus and time constraints made that impractical, Smith said.
“We didn’t just want to put a name up there,” he said.
Last month, Miller said he was going to the University of Texas at Austin where he will be the director of the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development.
State Sen. Stacey Campfield says a colleague’s reference to a rat’s rump in a rebuke to the Legislature’s Black Caucus has become a “catch phrase” among members of Tennessee’s delegation to the Republican National Convention.
Expanding in a telephone interview on comments made in blog posts from the convention, the Knoxville lawmaker also said Wednesday the Black Caucus is a “segregationist organization” that should be ignored, just as Sen. Jim Summerville, R-Dickson, suggested in a controversial email.
That email, sent to Rep. Barbara Cooper, D-Memphis, with a request that she forward it to other members of the Black Caucus said: “I don’t give a rat’s ass what the Black Caucus thinks.” He was responding to a Black Caucus comments on a Senate subcommittee report.
Rep. Larry Miller, D-Memphis, chairman of the Black Caucus, said Campfield’s remarks were “asinine.” Adam Nickas, executive director of the state Republican party, said in an email that Campfield was wrong about use of the phrase at the convention.
“The only catch phrase I’ve been hearing is, “We built it,” in response to President Obama’s degrading comments to hard working small business owners,” Nickas wrote.
“In regards to Mr. Campfield and Summerville’s comments: We do not endorse their comments and they are not reflective of the view of the state party. Such statements are simply ridiculous.”
Larry Crim, fourth place finisher in the Aug. 2 Democratic U.S. Senate primary, indicates in a news release that he’s dropping legal action to void the apparent victory of Mark Clayton, who has since been disavowed by the state Democratic party.
This comes after U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp of Nashville effectively threw the lawsuit out — though telling Crim’s lawyer he could come back and try again.
Instead of litigating, the release says Crim is launching a new organization — he will be chairman — called Democrats United For Tennessee. It’s purpose, says the release, will be uniting Democrats and “providing leadership for a new direction focused on emphasizing the importance of every race for public office and on the vetting, selection, nomination, and general election of Tennessee Democrats dedicated to being a public servant for all Tennesseans.”
The full release is below.