veterans services

The other shoe drops on Rogers, Goins ousters at Veterans Services

Veterans Services Commissioner Courtney Rogers attends the groundbreaking ceremony for the Bradley County Tennessee State Veterans’ Home on Aug. 21, 2019. (Image Credit: Tennessee Department of Veterans Services)

A state investigation into former Veterans Services Commissioner Courtney Rogers found the former Republican lawmaker had engaged in “frequent yelling and belittling employees, inappropriate comments made in public, and use of racial and homophobic stereotypes and slurs.”

Rogers and her deputy, former Rep. Tilman Goins, resigned late last month. Goins was alleged to have engaged in a romantic relationship with a subordinate at the agency.

On a visit to a military base, witnesses said Rogers described a specific race as “prostitutes who slept their way into the United States.” According to the investigation summary, Rogers “did not deny making the statement and did not recall in what context she would have made the comment.”

During a mediation at the department, Rogers is also alleged to have referred to the other party as “another black guy looking for a free ride.” She denied those comments, saying “she may have referred to the individual as ‘someone sticking it to the man.’”

Former Rep. Tilman Goins, the deputy commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services, speaks at a training conference on Nov. 18, 2019. (Image Credit: Tennessee Department of Veterans Services)

According a person who filed a complaint against Rogers, the commissioner yelled at her during a car ride in October 2019.

“I’m sick of your stupid mouth!” the staffer recalled Rogers shouting at her. “I’m going to quit and tell the governor it’s all your fault!”

Another person corroborated those events, but Rogers said she did not recall yelling.