boards and commissions

State Elections Commission ousts commissioner for strip search joking

The State Election Commission voted Monday to remove Putnam Election Commissioner Terry Herrin from office after testimony citing his repeated joking about a woman election office employee facing a strip search, reports the Cookeville Herald Citizen.

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Haslam’s overhaul of UT governance gets final legislative approval

The Senate signed off on House amendments to Gov. Bill Haslam’s overhaul of University of Tennessee’s governance system Wednesday, sending the bill to his desk for a signature that will be followed by submission of nominees for 12 new UT Board of Trustees members. They will replace the current 27-member board on July 1.

As submitted by the governor, the bill (SB2260) called for an 11-member board. One of the House changes was to add another member – a student who won’t have authority to vote on the panel. The bill also creates four new “advisory” boards – one each for UT campuses at Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin and Memphis – and each of those will have seven members.

Final approval came on a 24-7 Senate vote, a bit closer than the 27-3 margin given in initial Senate approval before the House amendments. The House vote last week was 51-41.

Administration lobbyists told legislators that the governor intends to submit a slate of nominees promptly after signing the bill into law, hoping that they can win the required legislative confirmation prior to adjournment of the 2018 session. If not approved this session, the nominations must be confirmed within 90 days after the 2019 session convenes.

Note: Roll call votes on the bill are HERE.

Senate signs off on Haslam restructuring of UT Board of Trustees, 27-3

The state Senate approved 27-3 Tennessee Monday evening Gov. Bill Haslam’s legislation to restructure  the University of Tennessee board of trustees, slashing the main governing panel from 27 to 11 members and creating “advisory” boards for each of the system’s four campuses. A few critics noted that there will now be 39 appointees on five boards overseeing UT operations under the “FOCUS Act” and questioned whether that is actual streamlining.

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House committee revises, then approves Haslam bill shrinking UT Board of Trustees

A state House committee approved today Gov. Bill Haslam’s bill to shrink the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees after revisions the administration agreed to accept after a round of recent criticism. A key alteration is to add a non-voting student member to the panel.

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UT diversity squabble tied to Haslam’s bill shrinking UT Board of Trustees

Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal to shrink the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees came under renewed criticism Tuesday in a legislative hearing with some lawmakers joined by  student and faculty representatives and a past chairman of the national UT Alumni Association in questioning the measure, reports the Times Free Press. The administration has offered some amendments, but the bill is still stuck in committees without a vote being taken.

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Haslam eyes downsizing UT board, changing leader selection process

Gov. Bill Haslam is considering reducing the number University of Tennessee Board of Trustees, reports Nashville Ledger. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally  says the governor is also eyeing changes in the process for selecting a new UT president or the chancellors who head individual UT campuses.

Haslam spokeswoman Jennifer Donnals declined to address specifics Friday but said “the governor is having conversations about ways to help the UT Board of Trustees operate more efficiently and effectively.”

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Haslam goes against parole board, exonerates man in 1978 rape conviction

Press release from Gov. Bill Haslam

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today issued the following statement on the exoneration of Lawrence McKinney:

“Today I granted Lawrence McKinney’s request for gubernatorial exoneration from his 1978 convictions. Though the facts of this case are complex and reasonable minds may draw different conclusions from them, ultimately I respect the determinations of the Shelby County Criminal Court and District Attorney General that Mr. McKinney was not guilty of the crimes for which he was convicted and would not have been prosecuted if the DNA testing results had been available at the time of trial. Mr. McKinney was released after more than 30 years in prison when the court set aside his convictions in 2009.

“In the eyes of the judicial system, Mr. McKinney is innocent. While I appreciate the hard work and recommendations of the Board of Parole, in this case I defer to the finding of the court charged with determining Mr. McKinney’s guilt or innocence.”

McKinney, 61, was convicted of rape and burglary in Shelby County. had his record expunged after his release from prison where he spent 31 years.

Further, from The Tennessean:

Although he was out of prison and had his record expunged, McKinney still sought an executive exoneration from the governor to enable him to file for compensation with the Tennessee Board of Claims.

McKinney had the support from state Rep. Mark Pody, Pastor John Hunn of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lebanon and attorneys Jack Lowery and David Raybin in his efforts.

…The Tennessee Board of Parole voted unanimously against recommending exoneration for McKinney in 2016. At the time, at least one parole board member questioned the completeness of the DNA evidence that cleared McKinney. 

The governor is not bound to follow that recommendation and can either grant, deny or choose not to act on an executive clemency request.

U.S. Senate panel hears from Trump nominees to TVA board

A U.S. Senate subcommittee heard testimony Tuesday from President Trump’s four nominees to the TVA Board of Directors. Jeffrey Smith, deputy director of operations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the only Tennessean among the four, emphasized the need for clean energy in recruiting new business investment within the region, reports WPLN.  No vote was taken.

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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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Haslam fills 217 positions on state boards and commissions

News release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the appointments of 217 Tennesseans to 93 boards and commissions.

“By serving on our state boards and commissions, these Tennesseans are helping us provide responsive, effective and efficient service to their fellow citizens,” Haslam said. “I am grateful for their service and know they will well represent the people of Tennessee.” 

Appointment terms are varied due to differing statutory requirements or term limits determined by specific qualifications.

The appointments are listed below:

 

Advisory Committee for Purchase From the Blind and Other Severely Disabled

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