university of tennessee

Haslam taps short-lived Pilot CEO for UT board

John Compton. (Photo credit: Gov. Haslam’s office)

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has tapped a former CEO of the family-owned Pilot Flying J truck stop chain to the reconstituted board of the University of Tennessee.

Haslam nominated John Compton and nine others as nominees to the UT board on Monday. Compton ran Pilot for less than six months after Jimmy Haslam, the governor’s brother, stepped aside following his 2012 purchase of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.

Less than six months later, Jimmy Haslam decided to come back to run the company. Compton, a former president of PepsiCo Inc., was shifted into a consulting role. In April 2013, federal agents descended on Pilot’s Knoxville headquarters amid widespread fraud perpetrated by the company’s sales department.

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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.

House approves, 51-41, Haslam’s overhaul of UT board of trustees

The state House on Thursday approved Gov. Bill Haslam’s controversial plan to dismantle the existing University of Tennessee system’s board of trustees, reduce its size and appoint new members, reports the Times Free Press. The Senate approved the measure earlier but in a different form and the bill now returns to the Senate for approval of the House amendments.

The bill, known as the UT FOCUS Act (SB2260), narrowly passed on a 51-41 vote. (It passed the Senate 27-3 on Monday)

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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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UT paying $2.5M to settle with former athletic director

The University of Tennessee will pay $2.5 million to its former athletic director, John Currie, under a settlement agreement announced Thursday, reports the News Sentinel. His employment with the university officially ended at 6 p.m. Thursday. He was suspended in December.

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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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Rally at UT brings 45 white nationalists, 250 protesters, 200 law enforcement officers

About 45 white nationalists showed up for a Saturday rally on the University of Tennessee Knoxville campus that was led by Matthew Heimbach, leader of a group known as Traditionalist Worker Party, reports the News Sentinel. So did 250 people protesting white nationalists and about 200 law enforcement officers from four different agencies.

There were no arrests, though six people were issued tickets for obstructing a highway during the protests, according to University of Tennessee Police Chief Troy Lane.

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Of six gubernatorial candidates, only Harwell supports removing governor from UT board

House Speaker Beth Harwell supports Gov. Bill Haslam’s proposal to reduce the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees from 26 to 11 members – including elimination of the governor as a board member, according to a Victor Ashe column. But  five other major candidates for governor want to have a seat on the board if elected.

Randy Boyd, Craig Fitzhugh, Bill Lee and Diane Black all said they thought the governor should be a board member and they would actively attend meetings as governor. Karl Dean said he would actively attend meetings but did not respond to the question of whether the law should be amended to remove the governor.

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Haslam unveils legislation on juvenile justice reform, UT board downsizing

Press release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced his legislative agenda for the 2018 session, continuing his focus on leading the nation in jobs, education, and efficient and effective government.

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