The Ballad of Phil and the Bills

The City Paper interviewed Phil Bredesen.

He, um, has an interesting relationship with his mayoral successor:

No, I think it’s real. I mean I don’t dislike him or have some distaste for him. He had a very different style than I did, and spent what I thought was an inordinate amount of time explaining how he did things so much better than the previous administration, although I think most people looked at my years as a reasonably successful time in the city. That was irritating. But, you know, we get along fine. I see him at things, and we do that, but I sort of got the picture. See, I can talk about things now that I’m not in office. I sort of got the picture when I really worked hard the end of my time as mayor, which I also did as governor, to make sure there was plenty of dry powder financially. The way the city works is, um, is the tax collection goes into a debt service fund, and that debt service fund, that has a balance that you can use for that. So in other words, in any given instance, you’ve got the ability legally to issue out of $110 million worth of debt, and that — the council decides how to use it and also the mayor, so decide how to use that. Different from the way the state does it with much more of a single-project kind of thing.

So I left them with a really healthy balance. Whereas, the usual thing in the past has been the mayor cleans the cupboard out on his way out the door. I left them a really healthy balance. And I think he had not been in office six months before they spent all the balance, and they were doing all these things because they were so much better at running things than the previous administration.

That was probably the beginning of the certain test during that period of time, but I would say Haslam has not — has absolutely not done that. He’s bent over backwards. I mean, I left him in really good shape, and he’s acknowledged that, and he’s continued on a very sensible course.