Republican U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann says he has avoided much of the social circuit in Washington but discovered a different way to bond in 2011, when he went out for the congressional Republican baseball team and found camaraderie, reports the Chattanooga TFP. On Thursday at Nationals Park, Fleischmann was the only Tennessean on either team in the annual Dems-versus-GOP showdown — a distinction he’s held for three consecutive years.
“I wanted to be a major league ballplayer growing up,” he said, “so it’s amazing to have fun with everybody — even those on the other side — and play at a big-league park.”
The congressman had some help representing Tennessee and its 3rd District. Before the game, Fleischmann’s eight-term predecessor, former Rep. Zach Wamp, was inducted into the Congressional Baseball Hall of Fame. Heralded for his .500 career batting average and slick shortstop skills, Wamp thanked the fans and threw out the first pitch.
Despite the Chattanooga connection, Wamp and Fleischmann aren’t tight. Wamp’s 26-year-old son Weston unsuccessfully challenged Fleischmann in last year’s Republican primary.
They differ on baseball, too. Wamp is a Braves fan while Fleischmann, a childhood New Yorker, loves the Mets. (Common ground exists, however: Both men said their Tennessee-bred sons cheer for the Braves.)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A special team within the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services fell behind in reviewing child deaths and ignored its own policies, according to DCS records and staff interviews.
The information was given to The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/VUnPrw) on Friday by department spokeswoman Molly Sudderth.
The newspaper is among a number of news organizations — including The Associated Press — suing DCS to obtain more detailed records the agency refuses to release.
The organizations argue the public needs information that would reveal how the state handled cases where children DCS had investigated died or nearly died.
For incumbent 34th District state Rep. Rick Womick and challenger Luke Dickerson, education lies close to their hearts. So says a review of their race in The Tennessean. Womick, a 54-year-old Republican from Rockvale, taught school for a couple of years in Ohio before joining the Air Force in 1983. Dickerson, D-Murfreesboro, currently works as a special education teacher at Northfield Elementary.
The pair hope their experiences and message resonate with voters as they head to the polls for early voting beginning Oct. 17 and on Election Day, Nov. 6.
Tennessee’s teachers face challenges with the state’s adoption of teacher evaluation systems. Womick noted that each district was given the option of choosing from a few different models, but most went with the Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model, which drew a lot of criticism from classroom teachers and administrators alike.
“In Memphis and Chattanooga, they use TIGER, which has a lot to do with the teacher’s individual development, and they love it. I may be asking (state Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman) to look at the possibility of adopting that statewide,” said Womick, now a commercial pilot who is married and has four children.
Dickerson, 28, who is entering his fourth year teaching English as a second language, said the reason many districts didn’t adopt TIGER is cost.
“The state is only supporting and funding TEAM. I think an evaluation system is important, but not worth spending $130 million like the state has. I think the most teacher growth and learning will come from Professional Learning Communities that we use here in Murfreesboro City and Rutherford County schools and having principals that are good leaders,” he said.
News release from Tennessee State Employees Association:
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Employees Action Movement (TEAM) – the PAC of the Tennessee State Employees Association – proudly endorses David Hawk, R-Greeneville, in the upcoming general election for the District 5 seat of the Tennessee House of Representatives.
“Representative Hawk has always advocated for state employees and retirees during his tenure in the State Legislature,” said James Braswell, Chair of the TEAM Administrative Committee. “As demonstrated by his efforts to save Greene Valley Developmental Center, he understands that quality services depend on a motivated, effective, and efficient workforce. We are proud to endorse David Hawk’s campaign.”
Republican nominee David Hawk says, “I believe state employees are essential to all citizens of Tennessee and the work they do should be valued by all. I think it is the responsibility of all legislators to know the working conditions of State Employees, to support them, and to ensure they are treated fairly by the State Government.”
TEAM is the political action arm of the Tennessee State Employees Association, representing hundreds of state employees in the 5th District. Founded in 1974, TSEA has a rich history of improving the lives of its state employee members in Tennessee. For further information, visit TSEA’s website at www.tseaonline.org. You can also follow TSEA on Twitter @tseaonline.
— Note: Hawk faces former Democrtic Rep. Eddie Yokley of Greeneville in the November general election.
News release from Chuck Fleischmann campaign:
CHATTANOOGA – The Chuck Fleischmann for Congress campaign has announced their grassroots team. The campaign’s grassroots team is comprised of an overall campaign chairman, a chairperson in each of the 11 counties, and an online team that is helping to connect supporters across the District.
“Our campaign has assembled a strong grassroots team, and I am thankful for all of their support. I have heard from folks all throughout the District that they want someone like me representing them in Congress – a small businessman who will stand up to President Obama, government regulators, and out-of-control spending. I have done that throughout my first term in Congress, and I look forward to working with these folks as we continue to fight for Tennessee values in Washington,” Fleischmann said.
“In challenging times there is something to be said of one who has been in the arena and has fought the battle. Chuck Fleischmann has proven himself to be a dedicated and tireless leader that carries his District’s work ethic and conservative values to the floor of Congress. He is a recognized leader,” Campaign Chairman Bobby Wood said.
News release from the governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that Larry Martin will join his staff to oversee implementation of the Tennessee Excellence and Accountability Management (TEAM) Act.
His responsibilities will include coordinating and collaborating throughout state government agencies to effectively begin recruiting new employees on all levels, updating performance evaluations in all departments, and a review of employee compensation that includes the salary study funded in the governor’s FY 2013-2014 budget.
“Getting the TEAM Act passed into law was only the beginning of our work,” Haslam said. “Now we must make sure it is implemented effectively, which includes creating meaningful performance evaluations, truly getting a full picture of employee compensation, and changing the culture now that we can recruit the best and brightest to serve. I am grateful that Larry has agreed to take on this challenge for the taxpayers of Tennessee. Our goal is to build a state workforce that is dedicated to and focused on customer service, efficiency and effectiveness.”
— Note: The salary is $140,000 annually, according to a spokesman for the governor. For more, see the News Sentinel report.
The Volunteer State is creating a personnel environment more akin to the private sector, according to a Governing magazine review of the civil service overhaul recently approved by the Legislature. On April 24, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed the Tennessee Excellence, Accountability and Management (TEAM) Act into law, ushering in a new era of civil service reform marked by the executive branch’s increased control over the hiring and firing of its state workers.
Like other states that have implemented civil service reform — including Florida, Georgia and Indiana — Tennessee will create a personnel environment more akin to the private sector. Once fully implemented, the TEAM Act will create two service divisions: “executive service,” made up mainly of senior-level positions, and “preferred service,” mostly comprised of middle management and front-line employees.
Those in executive service will remain at-will, meaning they can be fired at any time for any reason; while those in preferred service (formerly known as career service) will maintain a streamlined appeals process for wrongful termination.
In addition, the new law will: abolish the current hiring system in place of a new one; maintain the hiring preference given to veterans if two candidates are equal in experience and skill level; overhaul the state’s employee performance evaluation system; make job performance the primary consideration during layoffs; reduce the layoff notice timeframe to 30 days; and end “bumping,” the practice of laid-off employees snagging jobs away from less-experienced employees in similar positions.(Note: Most of the rest of the article is a Q&A with Alexia Poe, the governor’s communications director, and Robert O’Connell, president of TSEA.)
News release from Fleischmann Congressional campaign:
CHATTANOOGA, TN – Congressman Chuck Fleischmann announced the team that will lead his re-election campaign this year.
“I am glad to have these folks on board my campaign as we work to let the people of the 3rd District know about my proven conservative voting record and the promises I have kept in Washington. We are not taking anything for granted, and will work harder than any other campaign so I can continue fighting in Congress for less government spending, lower taxes, the right to life, 2nd Amendment rights, and a strong national defense,” Fleischmann said.
Jordan Powell, Senior Advisor – From January 2011 to February 2012, Mr. Powell served as Congressman Fleischmann’s press secretary in his Washington, D.C. office. Prior to that, he served as day-to-day manager and spokesman for Fleischmann’s 2010 come-from-behind victory. He has worked on many other campaigns across the country, including Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Tyler Threadgill, Campaign Manager – Mr. Threadgill is an experienced campaigner who most notably served as the Tennessee Republican Party’s Victory Director in 2010. Under his direction, the Victory operation helped lead historic Republican victories in the congressional delegation, state house, and state senate. Mr. Threadgill has also worked on Capitol Hill and at the Tennessee Department of Education.
Axiom Strategies – In the 2010 election cycle, Axiom Strategies was the most critically acclaimed Republican direct mail firm in the country winning twice as many awards as any other Republican firm. Axiom boasts an 81% Congressional win percentage in over 60 Congressional campaigns and has delivered over 25 million pieces of direct mail with 11.4 million pieces delivered in 2010. Axiom is a returning member of Congressman Fleischmann’s 2010 campaign team.
Wilson Perkins Allen Opinion Research – Founded in 1998, by CEO Chris Wilson, WPA Opinion Research (formerly known as Wilson Research Strategies) has been a leading provider of political polling for campaigns from Mayor and City Council to Governor and U.S. Senate in 47 states and several foreign countries. In 2009-2010 alone, WPA conducted polling in nearly 200 races for campaigns, caucuses and independent expenditures efforts. WPA is a returning member of Congressman Fleischmann’s 2010 campaign team.
The Strategy Group for Media – Founded in 1994, The Strategy Group for Media produces the most creative and compelling political advertising in the United States today. In the 2010 General Election, The Strategy Group for Media posted the best win-record in the nation with major victories in races for Governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House (14 new members), statewide, legislative caucus, and judicial campaigns. The Strategy Group is a returning member of Congressman Fleischmann’s 2010 campaign team.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday signed his plan to overhaul state civil service rules that make it easier for executive branch employees to be hired and fired, and allow merit raises for high-performing workers and pay decreases for poor ones.
The Republican governor put his name to the legislation in a ceremony across from the state Capitol. He was joined by state employees, legislators and members of his cabinet.
The bill will also require written performance standards and annual evaluations, set a minimum of three candidates to be interviewed for openings, and reduce the minimum layoff notice from three months to 30 days.
Veterans and their spouses will also receive preference if there are two candidates with equal qualifications and one is a veteran.
Haslam said the legislation is necessary because over the next five years nearly 40 percent of state employees will be eligible for retirement.
“In facing this challenge, it is our responsibility to build a top notch workforce for the future,” said Haslam, who lauded the team effort among state employees and lawmakers in making the legislation possible.
“I think we started with some things we thought were really important, but in the process there were a lot of voices that added to it and made the bill one that could pass and will work well when implemented,” he said. Note: News releases from the governor and TSEA below.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The House has approved Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to overhaul state civil service rules after agreeing to changes needed to bring the Tennessee State Employees Association on board.
The measure (HB2384) passed 74-19 on Wednesday would make it easier for the executive branch employees to be hired and fired, and would allow for more targeted merit raises for high performing workers. (Note: All 64 House Republicans voted for the bill, joined by nine Democrats and independent Rep. Kent Williams.)
Republican Rep. Bill Dunn of Knoxville, who carried the House bill on behalf of the Haslam administration, noted that negotiations with the TSEA had resulted in about 20 changes to the original bill — including that seniority will still be a factor in making decisions on staffing changes.
The companion bill was scheduled for a vote in the Senate on Thursday.