NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Parole Board Chairman Charles Traughber is retiring this week after working with offenders for more than 40 years.
In 1969, Traughber became a prison counselor at the then-Tennessee State Penitentiary, which closed in 1992 after the opening of Riverbend Maximum Security Institution.
He worked his way up to director of counselors before becoming a charter member of the full-time parole board that was established in 1972, then eventually the board’s chairman, the title he has held the past 30 years.
Traughber has overseen countless hearings, including the only parole hearing of probably one of Tennessee’s most notorious offenders — James Earl Ray, who pleaded guilty in 1969 to killing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Traughber said Ray’s parole was denied because of the “seriousness of the offense.”
News release from Administrative Office of the Courts:
Memphis, Tenn. – After more than 17 years and many firsts, Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice M. Holder will make August 31, 2014, her last day with the state’s highest court.
Justice Holder announced that she is retiring at the end of her current term and will not seek re-election in the August 2014 judicial retention election. She notified Gov. Bill Haslam by letter today.
“It has been my privilege to serve the people of Tennessee as a trial judge and Supreme Court justice – and an honor to have been selected by my fellow justices as the first female chief justice in our state’s history,” Justice Holder said.
Justice Holder, the third woman to serve on the Tennessee Supreme Court, was the first woman to serve as chief justice, a role she held from September 2008 through August 2010. During the Court’s current term, the position of chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court has rotated, each chief justice serving a two-year term.
News release from the governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Deputy to the Governor Claude Ramsey will retire at the end of August to spend more time with his wife, children and grandchildren in Chattanooga.
Ramsey has been integral to Haslam on several key initiatives, including civil service reform, economic development efforts, workforce development training and improved operation of state government.
“Claude’s experience at the state and local levels of government and his common sense approach have been invaluable assets to our administration, and I am incredibly grateful to him and his wife, Jan, for their time in Nashville and commitment to the state of Tennessee.”
When he joined the administration in January 2011, Ramsey agreed to serve as deputy to the governor for two years but has stayed on past his original commitment. Before joining the Haslam administration, Ramsey was in his fifth term as Hamilton County mayor, having played key roles in educational and economic successes in Southeast Tennessee.
“It’s been a true pleasure to work with the governor on the important issues of job growth, education reform and making Tennessee the best-run state in the country,” Ramsey said. “The governor is a man of integrity with a clear vision for the state, and I will do anything I can to help him in the future as he continues to serve.”
Ramsey, 70, was elected to the General Assembly in 1972 where he served four years. He was the assessor of property in Hamilton County from 1980-1994 and was a county commissioner for two years. He served 16 years as Hamilton County mayor.
Ramsey’s last day on the job will be August 31.
News release from Administrative Office of the Courts:
Nashville, Tenn. – Court of Appeals Judge Alan E. Highers has notified Gov. Bill Haslam that he will not seek re-election when his term expires August 31, 2014.
The decision creates a vacancy in Western Section of the Court of Appeal as of September 1, 2014. Due to the June 30, 2013 expiration of the statutory provisions for the Judicial Nominating Commission, the commission will meet June 29, 2013 to select nominees for Judge Highers’ anticipated vacancy.
Judge Highers is the presiding judge of the Western Section of the Court of Appeals and is the senior appellate judge in the state. He has been a member of the Court of Appeals since 1982, when he was appointed by Gov. Lamar Alexander.
A past president and executive committee member of the Tennessee Judicial Conference, Judge Highers is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University , Lipscomb University and the University of Memphis School of Law.
“I look forward to fulfilling the remainder of my term in the service of our state,” said Judge Highers in his letter to Gov. Haslam.
Any qualified applicant interested in the seat on the Court of Appeals must be a licensed attorney who is at least 30 years of age, a resident of the state for five years, and a resident of their circuit or district for one year and must reside in the Western Grand Division.
Applicants must complete the designated application, which is available at www.tncourts.gov, and submit it to the Administrative Office of the Courts by Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at noon CDT.
The Judicial Nominating Commission will interview all qualified applicants for the Court of Appeals opening Saturday, June 29 in Jackson. This follows meetings June 27 and June 28 in the Eastern and Middle divisions for anticipated 2014 openings on appellate courts in each of those sections.
The meeting will include a public hearing in which members of the public may express their opinions about the applicants. The interview, public hearing and deliberation process will be open to the public.
For more information, visit http://www.tncourts.gov/administration/judicial-resources.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Two Tennessee appellate court judges have notified Gov. Bill Haslam that they will not run for another term on the bench in the August 2014 retention election.
Patricia J. Cottrell, a judge on the Court of Appeals, and Joseph M. Tipton, who sits on the Court of Criminal Appeals bench, will both leave after September of next year.
The announcements come after the state legislature left Tennessee without a way to replace judges who step down or die when a commission expires at the end of next month.
Members of the soon-to-be-defunct Judicial Nominating Commission will make recommendations for replacements to give to Haslam before the panel expires. Haslam will appoint the replacements from those recommendations. Note: News release below
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — State finance chief Mark Emkes is retiring after presiding over three annual spending plans for Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration.
Emkes, formerly the CEO of Nashville-based tiremaker Bridgestone Americas, was one of Haslam’s highest-profile Cabinet choices following the 2010 election.
As Department of Finance and Administration commissioner, the 60-year-old Emkes has been responsible for budget matters and managing the state’s day-to-day finances.
Emkes’ retirement comes following Haslam’s decision to forgo — at least for the time being — $1.4 billion in federal money in the upcoming budget year for Medicaid expansion while pursuing a special arrangement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Emkes will be the third Haslam Cabinet member to leave this year, after Children’s Services Commissioner Kate O’Day and Labor Commissioner Karla Davis.
— Note: News release below.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The editor of The Commercial Appeal is retiring after 11 years in the paper’s top position.
Chris Peck notified the staff Thursday afternoon.
Scripps newspapers Vice President of Content, Mizell Stewart told The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/XMfhVc) managing editor Louis Graham will serve as interim editor. He said a national search for Peck’s replacement — both in and out of Scripps — will take place immediately aiming to hire a replacement within 90 days. Scripps is the parent company of the publication.
The paper hired Peck, 62, in 2002 to replace the retiring Angus McEachran.
Peck is a past president of the Associated Press Managing Editors and the current secretary of the American Society of News Editors.
Stewart said Peck would continue to contribute to the paper’s editorial pages
News release from state comptroller’s office:
Mary-Margaret Collier, director of the Comptroller’s Office of State and Local Finance, plans to retire May 31, capping a 16-year career with the state.
Among its many responsibilities, the Office of State and Local Finance manages all of the state’s debt, including issuing and repaying bonds, reviews budgets and debt obligations of local governments and assists local governments in other areas related to municipal finance.
“I am very appreciative of the work Mary-Margaret has done during her 16 years with the Comptroller’s office,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “She has been an extremely valuable member of our team and her work is highly respected in the bond finance community.”
Ms. Collier will be replaced by Sandi Thompson, who currently serves as deputy director of the Office of State and Local Finance.
News release from Tennessee Education Association:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Education Association Executive Director Alphonso C. (Al) Mance is retiring after 29 years with the association. Mance served as an assistant executive director prior to being promoted to executive director in 1999.
“Al is known not only in Tennessee, but nationwide, for his calm professionalism, and his knowledge of and dedication to public education,” said Gera Summerford, TEA president and Sevier County math teacher. “Al has devoted his life to improving public education and fighting for the rights of educators. He will be greatly missed by our members and our staff.”
During his time with TEA, Mance served on Governor Bredesen’s Commission on Civic Education and currently serves on the Tennessee First to the Top Advisory Council and the Tennessee Labor-Management Foundation Board of Directors.
Mance started his organizational career with the New York Educators Association. During his career Mance has written more than two hundred articles on educational and organizational issues and topics. Prior to his work for the association, Mance began his teaching career in Florida and then later taught in New York. He has developed and presented training packages on stress management, time management, leadership, parent-teacher conferences, teaching in a multi-cultural environment, interpersonal relations and humanism in education, among others.
Assistant Executive Director Mitchell Johnson will serve as interim executive director until Mance’s replacement is hired in early 2013.
— More on the matter: According to WPLN, TEA President Gera Summerford says the recent departure of TEA’s chief lobbyist, Jerry Winters, and now Mance is a coincidence and no indication of problems or conflict. “I have watched both of these professional, excellent gentlemen work in their roles for TEA for many, many years, I’ve worked very closely with them now for two and a half years, and neither of them is the kind of person who would give up a good fight.”
In the last couple years thousands of teachers let their memberships with TEA lapse, after lawmakers made it harder for the union to collect dues. Where membership was once over 50 thousand, Summerford now expects it to stabilize in the low forties.
By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Embattled Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester has decided not to seek a third term in charge of the state party, a spokesman confirmed Thursday.
The decision opens the door to new leadership for the party that has in recent years suffered deep losses in the Statehouse and the state’s congressional delegation. There has been little sign that Democrats will be able to reverse that trend in November.
Forrester was elected chairman amid a wave of discontent over the 2008 elections in which Democrats lost control of both chambers of the General Assembly for the first time in 140 years.
But Forrester fared no better, overseeing the even more disastrous elections in 2010 that saw Democrats lose 14 seats in the state House and three in Congress, while also dropping governor’s race in a landslide.
Democrats are on the defense again this year, with Republicans aiming for supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly. The only Republican congressman who faces a serious challenge is Rep. Scott DesJarlais, but only because of the emergence of a transcript of a phone conversation in which he once urged a mistress who had also been under his care as a doctor to seek an abortion.