The governor says still no word on the Medicaid plan. But he is planning a trip to Washington later this month to see if he can get the ball moving some more.
Haslam said he wanted to come to a conclusion by the end of the summer on whether expanding care was possible. He said in July he was “discouraged” when the federal government issued the state 600-page set of new rules for states accepting federal help.
“But since then, we’ve continued to have good discussions. I’ll go up there sometime in late August and have what I hope is a very productive conversation,” he said.
The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce have agreed to let members of the latter take part in the regional state government advocacy structure set up by the former. The deal builds on a similar partnership with the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce that was launched last year.
Robertson County Chamber members will have access to Middle Tennessee Business Voice, an online legislative issues tracking tool run by the Nashville chamber. Robertson businesses also will be able to take part in an annual policy survey that helps shape the Nashville chamber’s legislative agenda.
“Robertson County Chamber members will now be able to stay informed of business-related legislative issues and will have a quick and easy way to communicate with elected officials about policy decisions that could impact their bottom line,” said Robertson County Chamber President and Chief Economic Development Officer Margot Fosnes. “We are excited to be joining the Nashville Area Chamber and Rutherford County Chamber in expanding the region’s business advocacy efforts.”
Combined, the three chambers will represent 4,175 companies on Capitol Hill.
Steve Cates will end his tenure as commissioner of the state's Department of General Services later this month. Andrea Zelinski has the details, including the fact that Cates will be the fifth member of Gov. Bill Haslam to leave this year.
Cates, a real estate developer by trade, took a lot of flak in recent months for pushing through various outsourcing contracts. But the governor today had his back.
From the presser:
“Steve has put a lot of work into bringing state government into the 21st Century,” Haslam said. “We now have a reliable inventory of state properties; we have a plan to maintain those properties instead of deferring maintenance costs until there is a crisis; we’re creating more functional and cost-effective work spaces for our employees; and we’re leveraging the state’s buying power to save taxpayer dollars. These are significant changes that are making state government better, and I am grateful to Steve’s dedication to see these projects through.”
When Cates joined the administration in January 2011, he agreed to serve as commissioner for two years at which time he would return to his business, but he has stayed on past that original commitment. Before joining the Haslam administration, Cates was a partner in Cates-Kottas Development, building a number of Middle Tennessee neighborhoods since 1991. He served as president of the Home Builders Association of Tennessee and was also a past governmental affairs chairman for the association.
Well, that didn't take long...
Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission Keith Bell on Monday said his team will not follow through with plans to penalize restaurants and bars that serve cocktails with infused with natural flavors. The ABC's move comes just days after various corners of the hospitality industry raised concerns about the plan to prohibit infused drinks.
Is this unusual for states? It seems unusual.
From the inbox comes word that a veteran IBM exec will come on board at the state next month, about six weeks after Finance and Administration Commissioner Mark Emkes stepped down.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Greg Adams will join the governor’s senior team as chief operating officer. In the governor’s ongoing effort to make Tennessee the best managed state in the nation, Adams’ role will be to work with state departments to ensure they’re operating in the most efficient and effective way possible.
“Greg brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to state government,” Haslam said. “It says a lot for our state that we’re able to attract this caliber of talent. Greg will bring a fresh perspective to the work we’re doing every day to serve Tennessee taxpayers in the most efficient and effective way. I am grateful that he is willing to serve in this capacity.”
Adams, 58, comes to state government from IBM where he served as a member of the company’s senior leadership team, most recently as a managing director in the financial services sector. He spent nearly 37 years at IBM in positions in sales, marketing, operations, reengineering, and quality and general management.
Early in his career he spent two years in Knoxville as branch manager of IBM’s East Tennessee operations and then moved to Nashville where he was regional manager of the Mid-South region. After that he served as managing director of operations and board member for IBM Japan in Tokyo. In 1994 he moved to New York where he spent 11 years with the company in different roles ranging from general manager of process industries for IBM North America to vice president of small and medium business for Canada, the United States and Latin America. He moved to Atlanta in 2005.
“I am excited to work with Gov. Haslam and join his senior team in this new role,” Adams said. “This is a unique opportunity to apply my experience and skills in the public sector, and I look forward to being back in Tennessee. Not only have I lived and worked in Knoxville and Nashville, we have several proud graduates of Tennessee universities in my family. It will be great to be back.”
Adams earned a Bachelor of Science and Engineering degree from Princeton University in 1976 and a master’s in science and management from M.I.T. in 1989. He’s been married to his wife, Jeannine, for 36 years and has three married children and five grandchildren. He will begin his new role on Monday, July 8.
Andrea Zelinski got some details from Gov. Bill Haslam.
NewsChannel5 is reporting that the landlord for downtown's L&C Tower has filed a claim against the State of Tennessee, asking for millions of dollars in damages stemming from the state's alleged failure to honor leases in the iconic high-rise. Veteran investigative reporter Phil Williams has the story here.
The lawsuit is available here and includes plenty of grenades being lobbed at state officials. Here's one.
Upon information and belief, under Project T3, the State has purported to terminate leases in the Nashville area and has provided inconsistent and changing termination dates for some of the terminations. Upon information and belief, the State has also held over on leases. Participants in the real estate market in the Nashville are aware of the State's inconsistency with purported termination dates and potential for the State holding over.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced Thursday organizational changes in two key performance measures that affect unemployment benefit service delivery. The changes are being made to provide greater access to self-service features and a reduced backlog of those who have applied for unemployment.
“These changes have an exponential effect on our service delivery,” said Employment Security Administrator Linda Davis. “Decreasing the backlog means fewer follow-up calls, and opening access to self-service allows callers to directly find the information they need without any delays.”
The unemployment phone system has 600 lines, and like many service centers, the system allows use of a PIN to access a number of self-service functions like changing address or checking the status of a claim.
Previously, if all of the phone lines were taken by claimants in the queue, the system would shut down access to self-service features. The department has since reprogrammed the flow of calls so that self-service lines are available even if all claims center staff are engaged with customers. Self-service usage has increased from 3,467 services in January 2013 to 41,133 services in April 2013. The department has cut the backlog of unemployment decisions in half since last September. At that time, there were 29,000 unemployment claims awaiting decisions; that number has now been reduced to 13,000.