Lee cabinet

Lee raises pay for 15 members of Cabinet

Republican Gov. Bill Lee is largely paying the members of his Cabinet similarly to predecessor Bill Haslam, but 15 department heads will receive a salary bump compared with the last administration.

The AP’s Kimberlee Kruesi reports that TennCare Commissioner Gabe Roberts is the highest-paid of Lee’s top advisers at $300,000 per year. He and the next seven highest paid commissioners will make the same amount their counterparts did under Haslam.

The next 15 Cabinet members will receive $161,905 per year, an increase of between 2% and 6% from the last administration.

Lee names Schwinn as education commissioner

A release from Gov.-elect Bill Lee’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced the appointment of Penny Schwinn to lead the Tennessee Department of Education.

“Penny leads with students at the forefront and I believe her experience is exactly what we need to continue improving on the gains we have made in the past few years,” said Lee. “As a former teacher and seasoned administrator, she will help make Tennessee a leader in the nation on education.”

Schwinn currently serves as the chief deputy commissioner of education at the Texas Education Agency. In this role, she pursued a series of reforms including the transformation of a failing state assessment program. She also implemented the expansion of statewide externships and pathway development for improving students’ career readiness upon graduation.

Additionally, Schwinn oversaw the development of open-source instructional materials to empower teachers with high-quality resources for teaching. Prior to serving in the Texas Education Agency, Schwinn was the chief accountability and performance officer for the Delaware Department of Education where she led efforts to conduct a testing audit, which led to nearly a 20 percent decrease in student testing time.

A former teacher, Schwinn taught with Teach for America (TFA) from 2004-2007 with work in Baltimore City Public Schools and Los Angeles. She is also the founder of Capitol Collegiate Academy, a charter school that serves low-income students in South Sacramento.

Lee names commissioners for Health, General Service, Intellectual Disabilities

Gov.-elect has named three more commissioners for his incoming administration:

• Lisa Piercey – Department of Health.
• Brad Turner – Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
• Christi Branscom – Department of General Services.

Here is the release from Lee’s transition office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced three appointments to his cabinet for the Department of Health, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and the Department of General Services.

“We have been committed to building a team that represents each Grand Division and I am pleased to add appointees who represent West, Middle and East Tennessee at the table,” said Lee. “I look forward to working together to implement a conservative vision for Tennessee.”

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Lee names 3 more commissioners

A release from Gov.-elect Bill Lee’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced three appointments to his cabinet for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Environment and Conservation and the Department of Human Resources.

“I am pleased to announce three additions to our cabinet who bring a high level of expertise and deep knowledge of our state,” said Lee. “I look forward to working closely with these appointments as we build forward-thinking solutions for Tennessee.”

The Governor-elect named the following appointments today:

  • Clay Bright – Department of Transportation
  • David Salyers – Department of Environment and Conservation
  • Juan Williams– Department of Human Resources 

Clay Bright, of Davidson County, currently serves as the vice president of Brasfield & Gorrie, one of the nation’s largest privately held general contractors. Bright has worked with the company for 36 years and was instrumental in opening the Nashville office of Brasfield & Gorrie. He managed some of the most complex projects in Tennessee including the construction of the AT&T Building. 

David Salyers, of Madison County, currently serves as the executive director of the West Tennessee River Basin Authority, a division of the Department of Environment and Conservation. Salyers is a registered professional engineer, geologist and certified professional hydrologist who has worked with WTRBA for more than 20 years to develop conservation solutions for West Tennessee streams and rivers. During Salyers’ tenure, he has helped secure millions in federal grants for Tennessee and was also instrumental in developing the statewide water plan known as TN H2O. 

Juan Williams, of Davidson County, currently serves as the operations manager for the Duke Energy Nashville Resource Center where he advises managers, supervisors and employees on matters including operations and workplace culture. Previously, Williams served as the Director of Change Readiness for Duke Energy, with focuses on business process, talent management and restructuring. In addition to nearly 17 years of human resources and operations experience, Williams is an active member of the community and serves on the Pencil Foundation Board of Directors

Lee names West Tennessee Appeals Judge Gibson as adviser

Brandon Gibson, a judge on the western section of the Tennessee Court of Appeals has been named senior adviser to Gov.-elect Bill Lee’s incoming administration. She will be focus on long-term initiatives like criminal justice reform and prioritizing the needs of rural communities.

Here’s full release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced his appointment of Brandon Gibson to serve as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Governor, a cabinet-level position.

“Brandon is a principled conservative with deep rural roots in our state,” said Lee. “She is widely respected for her service on the Court of Appeals and I am honored that she will continue her commitment to public service in this administration.”

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Lee makes 6 more Cabinet annoucements

From Gov.-elect Bill Lee’s transition office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced six appointments to his cabinet for the Department of Children’s Services, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Department of Labor & Workforce Development, the Department of Revenue and the Division of TennCare.

“The six individuals joining our cabinet represent each of our Grand Divisions and bring vast experience in their respective areas,” said Lee. “I am excited to work with this group and look forward to building solutions for our state.”

The Governor-elect named the following appointments today:

  • Jennifer Nichols – Department of Children’s Services
  • Tony Parker – Department of Corrections
  • Bob Rolfe – Department of Economic and Community Development
  • Dr. Jeff McCord – Department of Labor & Workforce Development
  • David Gerregano – Department of Revenue
  • Gabe Roberts – Division of TennCare

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Former Rep. Courtney Rogers to head Veterans Services in Lee administration

Gov.-elect Bill Lee has named former Rep. Courtney Rogers (R-Hendersonville) as commissioner of veterans services and Army Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes as the head of military affairs.

Here’s was he release from the Lee transition;

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced two appointments to his cabinet for the Department of Military and the Department of Veterans Services.

“We are pleased to add two experienced military leaders to our cabinet today,” said Lee. “Our veterans and active duty personnel will be in good hands with these appointments and I look forward to working with them.”

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Lee names 2 new Cabinet members, keeps 2 others

Gov.-elect Bill Lee has named new commissioners of the tourism and safety departments, while keeping the commissioners of financial institutions and tourism from predecessor Bill Haslam’s administration.

Here’s the full release from the Lee transition office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced four appointments to his cabinet for departments including Commerce and Insurance, Financial Institutions, Safety and Homeland Security, and Tourist Development. 

“I am pleased these four talented individuals have agreed to join my cabinet and lead these important departments,” said Lee. “Their experience and institutional knowledge will be invaluable as we build long-term solutions for our state.”

The Governor-elect named the following appointments today:

  • Julie McPeak– Department of Commerce and Insurance
  • Greg Gonzales– Department of Financial Institutions
  • Jeff Long– Department of Safety and Homeland Security
  • Mark Ezell – Department of Tourist Development

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Sheriff Jeff Long to be named Lee’s safety commissioner

Gov.-elect Bill Lee plans to name Williamson County Sheriff Jeff Long as commissioner of the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security, a source close to the transition tells The Tennessee Journal.

Long, the Tennessee Sheriff Association’s sheriff of the year of 2013, will succeed David Purkey, who was named safety commissioner in 2016. Purkey, , a former state trooper and mayor of Hamblen County, had previously served as assistant commissioner since 2011.

Long succeeded former Williamson County Sheriff Ricky Headley, who had resigned earlier in 2008 as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors in Davidson and Williamson counties over fraudulently obtaining prescription pain pills.

Long wrote in a 2017 letter to the editor of The Tennessean that he met Lt. Gov. Rand McNally (R-Oak Ridge) in the opening phases of Operation Rocky Top, in which the lawmaker wore a wire for investigators. “He placed his whole political career in jeopardy by having the strength to stand up for what was right,” Long wrote. “Operation Rocky Top would not have been possible if not for a man of high character and morality as Lt. Governor McNally.”

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Lee staffs up his legislative team

Gov.-elect Bill Lee speaks to a Chamber of Commerce event in Memphis on Dec. 6, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A release from Gov.-elect Bill Lee’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Today, Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee announced four additions to his staff in the Office of the Governor, all of whom will have responsibilities connected to Legislative Affairs.

“Working with the legislature is one of the most important jobs a governor has,” said Lee. “These four talented and qualified individuals will do a tremendous job representing my administration and the State of Tennessee at the Tennessee General Assembly. I am grateful they are joining our team.” 

The Governor-elect named the following to his staff today:

  • Chris Devaney– Special Assistant to the Governor
  • Brent Easley– Legislative Director
  • Liz Alvey– Legislative Counsel
  • Brittany Collins – Senior Legislative Liaison

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