bill haslam

Haslam elected chairman of Republican Governors Association

Press release from Republican Governors Association

WASHINGTON, D. C. – The Republican Governors Association announced today that Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam was elected to serve as the RGA Chairman for 2018. Additionally, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts was elected to serve as Vice Chairman. Both assume the positions immediately and are a one-year duration.

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Six of 2,407 military veterans working for state get special attention at Haslam’s Veterans Day event

News release from Department of Veterans Affairs

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today joined Tennessee Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder and Major General Terry “Max” Haston from the Tennessee Military Department to recognize six veteran state employees and more than 474,000 Tennessee veterans of all ages and eras.  The Governor’s Veterans Day event was held at the Tennessee Tower Plaza in downtown Nashville.

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Stephen Smith named Haslam chief of staff; Jim Henry remains deputy to governor

News release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Stephen Smith will serve as his chief of staff to oversee day-to-day operations of the governor’s office and serve as top advisor and strategist. Smith joined the governor’s office in August 2016 and most recently served as senior advisor to the governor. He has served in the Haslam administration since 2011, previously as deputy commissioner for policy and external affairs for the Tennessee Department of Education.

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Haslam: No budget retaliation against UT for outsourcing rejection; higher ed seeks $102M new funding

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday that his administration won’t retaliate against several University of Tennessee campuses that opted against his effort to privatize facilities management services at higher education institutions, reports the Associated Press.

During budget hearings, Haslam said he’s disappointed with how the process played out, but his administration won’t give less money to higher education because of choices that were left up to each campus.

… “There’s no recrimination from us, in my role as governor, anybody else’s role,” Haslam said. “We meant what we said. This was a tool to use if you found it to be to your benefit.”

The Health Science Center in Memphis is the only UT campus to opt in, but officials there only intend to have the company take over mechanical services that are already outsourced through a consortium with the University of Memphis and Southwest Tennessee Community College.

And The Tennessean has this quote from the governor on the reasons behind outsourcing rejection: “I understand they are subject to the politics of the governor’s office, legislature and campus workers’ union and all sorts of people, but great universities live in the midst of that and work past it.” 

More on the higher education budget hearing from the Times Free Press:

Beginning next fall, new graduates of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology or similar technical programs offering certificates and degrees from state community colleges will come with an eye-catching “warranty” for prospective employers.

If companies can demonstrate the graduates they hire aren’t up to snuff, “we’ll take them back and train them for free,” Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora Tydings told Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday.

Replied Haslam: “I love the idea. … That’s accountability at its finest.”

… Meanwhile, Tennessee Higher Education Commission Executive Director Mike Krause told the governor he is asking the THEC board to approve holding tuition and fee increases between 0 and 3 percent during the 2018-2019 academic year for the University of Tennessee System, the Board of Regents and six independently governed public universities.

Haslam has made it a priority in the last three years to boost state spending for higher education, reversing a decades-long trend in Tennessee and most states where public higher education has been forced to rely on large tuition and fee increases to make up higher operational costs.

This year, the UT system is seeking a total of $25.94 million in general government dollars for its campuses, which include the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The Board of Regents is asking for $23.84 million, while the locally governed six universities, including Tennessee Tech, are seeking $24.49 million.

The total higher ed request is $102.51 million, which includes various state-administered programs.

UT trustees grumble about ‘slaps in the face’ to Haslam outsourcing plans

Members of the University of Tennessee board of trustees have slammed a decision by UT Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport to not participate in facilities outsourcing even though Davenport argued the university wouldn’t save as much by privatization as promised, reports the News Sentinel.

In a presentation to the board (Friday), Davenport said UT Knoxville would only save $906,654 in the first year of outsourcing with private company Jones Lang LaSalle, compared to the $5.2 million the company estimated.

The university is already making its own improvements in efficiency; an outside company would not be able to handle the complexity of work associated with facilities management in research departments and the change could be harmful to the local economy, Davenport listed as additional reasons for her decision.

Trustees criticized the decision saying it lacked financial justification and would make it hard to go to the state to ask for money in the future.

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State budget hearing notes: Talk of cuts and needs for new spending

As he began hearings on developing a state budget for the coming year, Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday that some departments and agencies may have to make cuts, reports WPLN. At the same time, other media outlets report there were requests from some department for increased spending.

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Haslam sticks to his guns in banning firearms at Capitol

Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday he has no intention of changing his administration’s stance on barring handgun-carry permit holders from bringing their weapons into Tennessee’s state Capitol even though they will be allowed in the Cordell Hull Building where state legislators have offices and hold hearings, reports the Times Free Press.

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Haslam starts budget hearings today after asking recommendations for 2.5 percent cuts

Gov. Bill Haslam begins budget hearings for all major departments and agencies of state government’s executive branch today and they continue through Thursday. As usual under Haslam, each department has been asked to identify where it would implement budget cuts if necessary.

For the coming 2018-19 fiscal year, which will be the final budget prepared by the term-limited governor, the departments and agencies have been asked to identify potential cuts totaling 2.5 percent of discretionary base appropriations. Typically in the past, the actual cuts have been far less than the suggested target figure and the state has enjoyed large surpluses in revenue for the past few years.

As reported in a recent issue of The Tennessee Journal, Finance Commissioner Larry Martin requested cuts of 2%, but the aggregate reduction wound up being 0.7%. Two years earlier, the aggregate cut came to 3.6% after a 7% cut-identifying exercise.

The schedule of hearings, starting with the Department of Children’s Services Monday morning and continuing until the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services on Thursday afternoon, is HERE.

There will also be live video streaming of the hearings HERE and each department’s slide show presentation will be posted at the same website after the presentation, according to the governor’s office.

Reaction to UT outsourcing rejection: Haslam still supports concept as TSEA applauds

Press release statements following the University of Tennessee decision rejecting participation in outsourcing of facilities management services as proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam:

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Katie Ashley appointed top Haslam administration lobbyist

News release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Katie Ashley will serve as director of legislation, the governor’s chief advisor and strategist for legislative matters.

The Crockett County native is one of the longest serving Haslam staffers, starting out on his campaign in 2009 before becoming a legislative liaison in 2011 and handling one of the governor’s top priorities: education in Tennessee.

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