McWhorter leaving Lee administration for higher education, private sector

Finance Commissioner Stuart McWhorter, right, and Deputy to the Governor Lang Wiseman confer before Gov. Bill Lee’s first State of the State address in Nashville on March 4, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Former Finance Commissioner Stuart McWhorter is leaving Gov. Bill Lee’s administration after overseeing the “unified command” for the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

McWhorter will become a senior adviser to Clemson University, his alma mater. He will also return to the private sector. Butch Eley has taken over as finance commissioner.

Here’s what The Tennessee Journal wrote when McWhorter stepped down as finance commissioner in March:

McWhorter, the chairman of a healthcare venture capital firm who had served on the board of the Lee Co., was an early backer of Lee’s long-shot gubernatorial bid. He eventually served as the campaign’s finance chairman and was one of Lee’s first appointments following the 2018 election. The finance commissioner is traditionally the governor’s chief Cabinet officer, though McWhorter has appeared at his least comfortable when pressed by reporters about controversies ranging from school vouchers to the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust at the Capitol. He has been more content to focus on the budget planning elements of the job, in which he has presided over a wild roller-coaster ride from the days of overflowing tax coffers to having to cut about $1 billion of the upcoming spending plan to account for the expected economic fallout from the coronavirus.

Here’s the full release from the governor’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced next steps for the Unified-Command Group as Stuart McWhorter departs the administration at the end of May to go back to the private sector and to take on a senior advisory role at Clemson University.

“Stuart has been a tremendous asset to my administration, first as the commissioner of Finance and Administration, then in his role as director for our COVID-19 response through Unified-Command,” said Gov. Lee. “His ability to apply private-sector expertise to public-sector challenges has served our state well and I wish him the best in his new chapter with his alma mater’s entrepreneurship and innovation planning.”

The Unified-Command Group, comprised of the Tennessee Department of Health, the Tennessee Department of Military and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, has established working procedures for testing, procurement, hospital capacity contingency planning, data analysis and other core functions in the fight against COVID-19. The Unified-Command Group
continues to coordinate with the Economic Recovery Group through planning and executing on the safe re-boot of Tennessee’s economy.

“The strong work of Unified-Command will continue as we address the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis,” said Lee. “This group has optimized our state’s response and we will keep this model in place for as long as needed.”

15 Responses to McWhorter leaving Lee administration for higher education, private sector

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    Good to get another dem out of this administration

  • RonG says:

    He was definitely an asset to the state as Commissioner of F&A and he will be missed! I wish certain people would see beyond party and accept job performance for what it is! Good luck, Commissioner!!

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      I’m all for “. . .seeing beyond party and accept[ing} job performance for what it is. . .” so long as it is a ministerial position, like the guy in the tower along a rail line in charge of throwing the switches to put the train on the right track, but if the position has any discretionary element to it only an ideological conservative will do.

  • RonG says:

    Stuart, to each his own!!

  • Benton Temple says:

    Stuart was just about the only thing close to competence in Lee’s administration. Sorry to see him go. Now Bill Lee really will be nothing but a do-nothing Gov.

  • MARLE says:

    Clemson has risen from being called “a crappy land grant college” by the snobby Wofford and Furman private “elite” colleges in SC. Now it beats both in SAT and ACT scores and has a selectivity ranking that Wofford can only dream of.

    What kind of advice are they in need of from him?…………………………Glad he’s got a private sector job to go along with the Clemson gig.

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    One thing is for sure. Lee has lost more jobs than have been created in a decade and let more criminals out of jail than Ray Blanton. He has legalized online gambling, allowed many to be executed and opened the door to refugees to plunder our state. He has also chased a rabbit trail for two years with vouchers because big corporate contributors egged him on. He oversaw a coked up Speaker of the House and has child molester serving In the legislature. What’s up?

    • Lance Persson says:

      Just curious. Have you done anything to help our state other than put other people down, complain and whine? I am serious Phil. Tell us the positive things you have done to make a positive contribution to our state.

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        You have to give Phil credit for his ideological athleticism. Doesn’t like gambling, but doesn’t like the death penalty, doesn’t like aliens but doesn’t like vouchers either. WOW! If politics had a place for an ideological running back I think Phil might be an All-American. Fabulous broken field running!

      • Phil Lassiter says:

        Please step away from the keyboard , Lance. You are dangerous to yourself and the conservative movements with your actions and opinions. I’m serious. Please, leave the keyboard alone. Maybe throw it out? Then you can just read and stop the damage to conservatives

      • Donna Locke says:

        I hope I don’t have to stop the car and come back there.

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  • LeeAnn C. says:

    Sounds like a smart guy (McWhorter). Bail out of that Unified Command creation of our heavy handed governor before the legislature returns. He’s even leaving the state! I don’t see a graceful exit for the governor. He has single handedly ruined the lives of Tennessee by draconian executive orders with cover of these appointed committees. He will NEVER admit error and he’s without the same option as McWhorter.

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