Lee names McWhorter to head ‘unified command’ on Tennessee coronavirus response

Finance Commissioner Stuart McWhorter presents budget cuts to the Senate Finance Committee on March 18, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has named Finance Commissioner Stuart McWhorter to head a new “unified command” on the state’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

McWhorter,who will step aside from his role as head of the Department of Finance and Administration to take on the new role, named retired Army Brig. Gen. Scott Bower as his chief of staff. Bower is a former acting commander of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell.

Here’s the full release from Gov. Bill Lee’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee established the COVID-19 Unified Command, a joint effort to be led by Commissioner Stuart McWhorter, to streamline coordination across the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), Tennessee Department of Health and Tennessee Department of Military.

“The COVID-19 pandemic challenges every aspect of traditional government response in a crisis,” said Gov. Lee. “I have appointed the Unified Command to effectively change the way we attack COVID-19 in Tennessee as we work to simultaneously address health, economic and supply crises.”

Commissioner Stuart McWhorter currently heads the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration and will leave this post to head the COVID-19 Unified Command. McWhorter appointed retired Brig. Gen. Scott Brower to serve as chief of staff for the operation.

“Gen. Brower’s special forces background and previous service as the Acting Senior Commander for the 101st Airborne Division has enabled him to pull leaders together and troubleshoot quickly in a crisis,” said McWhorter. “Gov. Lee has urged our team to challenge every barrier and assembling this team is the first step.”

Brower resides in Clarksville and most recently served as the military advisor in residence to the president of Austin Peay State University. The COVID-19 Unified Command also includes:

  • Patrick Sheehan, TEMA Director
  • Dr. Lisa Piercey, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Health
  • Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Adjutant General, Tennessee Department of Military

11 Responses to Lee names McWhorter to head ‘unified command’ on Tennessee coronavirus response

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    Not Stuart Anderson says:

    I like this move. Makes sense and has the potential to cut the red tape and get things moving more quickly. I’d have liked to have seen it done sooner, but hindsight is 20/20. This is new territory and all the states seem to have their own way of doing things in the face of inconsistent leadership from DC.

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    Beatrice Shaw says:

    They need to hurry its getting really bad

    • Avatar
      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Why don’t you deliver that message to your friends in the U. S. Senate?

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        Paul says:

        I have. I told them to not pass a “bailout” that hands billions to Donald Trump’s minions to pass out to corporate entities to put in their pockets and instead of employees who need the help. Airlines alone have spent tens of billions of the Trump tax cuts buying stock back instead of perhaps saving a bit of that profit and now they need hand outs. Imagine that. Of course, since Trump, when he is not playing on Twitter or golfing is watching his own “hospitality portfolio”, that will certainly get a bailout as well. That’s what “the art of the deal” is — take other people’s hard-earned money and make it your own, preferably with no strings attached when it’s handout time.

        Once again, we find out the “free market” is free until its disaster time, then the shareholders need to be shored up a bit, because that market thing isn’t working out so well for them. Wash, rinse, and repeat. Great system. I’m all for capitalism, but this is corporate welfare on a grand scale as proposed by Trump, McConnell, et al. No sense of urgency from my view to throw a couple of trillion out there in a pile and light it on fire. If it’s not going to “trickle down” to the folks who need it most to pay their bills, what’s the point? They lose either way, if nothing is done or it all goes to Joe Blow the CEO via the Trump/Kudlow/Mnuchin slush fund route.

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          Eddie White says:

          Sadly, tonight the Senate Democrats pursue their political agenda, while the nation’s economy goes to hell.

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          Stuart I. Anderson says:

          Corporations buying back stock when it is undervalued in the market and reselling it later when it is fairly or overvalued is a time honored practice that corporations use to enhance shareholder value. “Shareholders” Paul, you know, every bloke who is relying on his 401(k) to fund his retirement. No matter, how strange it is that only you knew for the last few years that a terrible pandemic was going to strike that would all but shut down the U.S. economy for the first time in our history so airlines, and almost every other corporation, should not engage in this routine form of corporate finance in order to squirrel away as much money as possible for the crises to come. The only thing doubters would want to have, Paul, is a shred of evidence of your prescience.

          What causes the reasonable person to doubt you Paul is the fact that it seems odd that you could foretell the crises to come that would cause those darn airlines to come hat-in-hand to the government for a bailout when your fellow liberals were denying that the Chinese virus was any problem at all just a few weeks before the pandemic hit. You remember Paul, when at the end of January Trump was trying to prevent the virus from spreading to the U. S. by shutting down passenger airline traffic from China as the Chinese government was doing what it could to suppress as much information as it could about what was really going on in Wuhan your fellow liberals were screaming “ALARMISM!” and of course “RACISM!” etc. yet apparently unlike them you knew what was come all the time.

          The “market thing” works very well, at least compared to the “socialist thing” with which you liberals are incessantly flirting. Just to be clear, the liberals in Congress are not so much against throwing “a couple of trillion” at corporations, they simply don’t, in the words of your buddy Rahm Emanuel, “. . .want to let a crises go to wast.” Not on your life!!! In legislation being drafted in the House they are demanding a wish list of “Green New Deal” proposals, viz. carbon offsets for airlines, airline emission control regulations, wind energy tax credits and of course, how can they resist but to include provisions to further their endless race hustling, viz. requiring more diversity bureaucrats in corporate management, mandated racial compositions of corporate boards, etc. Then again, your a liberal Paul, you know the program. Of course, in all of this you may have forgotten that there are “. . .employees who need help” and their employers who are in desperate need of cash to keep things running until this country returns to some semblance of normality.

          Liberals and their fellow leftists do such damage to this country in so many ways. Please remember fellow conservatives that all they want to do in this crises is to further their program of “Command and Control.” I pray that despite this crises, we not cease in opposing them with all the resources at our disposal.

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            MARLE says:

            Many corporations are not using Cash to buy back their stock. They are taking on debt to do it which is why, when times get hard, they are in the mess they’re in. They have debt to pay, not for expanding business, but for buybacks to jack up the earnings per share.

            Want to bail out companies that have done this? That’s is why simply looking at share price, PE’s or dividend yield and ignoring their financial statements isn’t prudent. They might get bailed out but a part of the reason they don’t have sufficient “rainy day” money is b/c they spent it all on buybacks.

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        MARLE says:

        Haven’t seen Lenny here anymore. Perhaps he has morphed into the “aunt Bee” character to parody the Left. Some say she’s you, Stuart. They know this (isn’t possible) by the date stamp.

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    Cannoneer2 says:

    Genius. Put a businesswhiner in charge of a health crisis.

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    Stop the Tyranny!

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