Dean nominates former sheriff Gayle Ray for fair board seat

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 11:39pm

Mayor Karl Dean has nominated former Davidson County Sheriff and State Correction Commissioner Gayle Ray to fill an open seat on the Metro Board of Fair Commissioners.

“Gayle Ray has a great deal of experience managing budgets, operations and major projects,” Dean said in a statement. “As long as I’ve known her, she’s been someone who is active in issues that are important to our city.”

The Metro Council is set to consider the nomination next week. A seat on the five-member commission opened when the term of former board chair James Weaver expired last week. Katy Varney, a principal at McNeely, Pigott & Fox Public Relations, has since been named the new chair.

Typically, a nomination to the fair board wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy. However, given the mayor’s desire to redevelop the 117-acre fairgrounds, and the momentary time out of those plans, the fair board has taken on an unusually high-profile role.

Instead of voting to demolish the property’s racetrack, the council in January opted to allow a new master plan to dictate the future of the fairgrounds. The fair board is to oversee this process.

“While the fairgrounds is in this period of master planning, [Ray] is a well known and tested community leader that the public can have confidence in,” Dean said.

Metro Councilman Eric Crafton, who has been critical of the fair board, seemed pleased with Ray’s nomination.

“I haven’t had a chance to talk to her, but most people feel like she did a pretty good job as a sheriff,” Crafton said. “I guess if she can bring those managerial skills to the fair board, and make it successful, I think it’d be great.”

Crafton has introduced a bill to remove members of the fair board, but the resolution is currently on deferral. Crafton said he wants to give commissioners time to talk to the council to discuss the future master-planning process.

“My goal is to get the council and fair board working together, instead of being adversarial,” Crafton said.

• Of note, the council next week will also consider Dean’s nomination of community leader Francis Guess to the nine-member Convention Center Authority, which is overseeing construction of Nashville $585 million Music City Center.

If appointed, Guess would replace Darrell Drumwright, who stepped down from the authority several weeks ago. 

12 Comments on this post:

By: Shane Smiley on 4/13/11 at 10:36

Gayle Ray has a fine track record of serving the people and is respected by many.
With that said, The Fairgrounds deserves to have a professional in the entertainment industry on the board.
We have some of the countries most respected people in promotion, publicity, and production right here in Davidson County.

As we go into the Master Planning process, Having a voice of knowledge in this field would be an asset to all of Davidson County.

If not Gayle Ray, who?

Scott Borchetta?
George Flanigen?
Mike Curb?
Vince Gill?
Steve Small?
The list of potentials is huge!
Steve Moore should not be considered as he is in the Real Estate business with Riebeling and Bone.
Riebeling's desire to sell off the Fairgrounds would pose a conflict of interest with a Moore nomination.

Karl Dean should feel obligated to appoint a leader in the entertainment industry that uses the Fairgrounds and has the Fairgrounds best interest at heart. The City Council should see it as their duty to insure an entertainment professional is appointed.

The people have spoken loud and clear a desire to save and refurbish the Fairgrounds.
With industry professionals in place, the Fairgrounds can be a vital source of much needed economic impact.

By: cannoneer2 on 4/13/11 at 11:08

Another former Bredesen underling who needs something to do?

By: HokeyPokey on 4/14/11 at 6:15

In other news: Subcommittee OKs bill allowing Fair Board to be armed when Bredesen is mentioned


By: govskeptic on 4/14/11 at 6:33

"Emily's list" has another of their former candidates on a Public Board.
Does that bring their rooster and following on board to vote for Dean?

By: Captain Nemo on 4/14/11 at 6:56

Ray is a good choice.

By: Paul on 4/14/11 at 7:06

It would have been nice if Dean had considered some competent, qualified people. Ray's "success" and experience are vastly overrated. But she and Dean share the same ideology, which seems to be his main consideration.

By: Community-carl-... on 4/14/11 at 8:24

Members of the Fairboard should be stakeholders regarding the success of Fairgrounds and all related activities. While Gayle Ray is probably a very nice person, I feel there are other people with far more promotional and PR skills who would have the necessary experience to build and increase the success of the activities within the scope of Fairgrounds utilization.

I fear that, as Paul at 8:06 states, "she (Gayle Ray) and Dean share the same idealology," which of course will mean doom for the Fairgrounds and all related activities. I hope the Metro Council members examine Gayle Ray's nomination by the mayor very closely, and if, indeed it is determined that her nomination is another sabatoge attempt by Dean, then hopefully the Councilmembers will intercede.

By: spooky24 on 4/14/11 at 11:04

Another nodding toady appointment-yes your highness anything you say. Or worse brawling donkey to spread the re election spin-remember his thoughtlessness still has to get even with someone who embarrassed him over the fairgrounds-any thoughts who that might be?


By: BigPapa on 4/14/11 at 12:19

Why would the mayor appoint someone who's idea's run counter to his own? The guy wants to tear that dump down, he's not going to appoint Norm Partin to the board.

By: las04 on 4/14/11 at 8:32

BigPapa, I pray if Karl Dean gets his way, he tears your dump down and leaves you standing idol in the streets. If you don't like" the dump" then you need to get the hell out.....PLAIN AND SIMPLE....!! Quit your crying because you bought your house or bizz in the area and you can't make a dollar. That's your fault not the fairgrounds. Why don't you focus on your lacking abilities to make a dollar instead of trying to blame your downfalls and bad buisness deals on something that has proven to be a financial staple in the community for decades, that is until the fair board members and snap starting taking their orders from the mayor.

By: BigPapa on 4/15/11 at 1:36

So rather than improve the bad areas of Nashville we should just accept it and just let it stay that way forever?? Glad East Nashville didnt do that, glad 12th South didnt do that, glad Sylvan park didnt do that, ...
Sorry but you're compeltly backwards on this issue. Any way, dont get too used to the track because after the election its a goner.

By: las04 on 4/22/11 at 8:53

No BigPapa, we shouldn't let if stay that way forever. It should have been taken care of many years ago. You can thank the fair board and those who had financial gain for the way the fairgrounds looks now. It hasn't always been that way. I'm sure your not familiar because you probably haven't lived in the area but a few years. I on the other hand I have lived in the area for my entire life. It was always maintained very well and the track was and still is a huge asset to the city. Your the one that's backwards....move to the areas you mentioned above or shut up. Better yet, maybe you can talk the thieves (who robbed the fairgrounds funds) into putting the money back and let us do the much needed face lift the landmark deserves. I'm sick and tired of you new comers trying to take over our city. You should look in the mirror when you say DUMP, find a picture of SNAP and Karl Dean to put up there as well. All of you are "High End Wannabes"....As far as getting used to the track, I am used to it, have been for 52 years and I hate to tell you this but it's not going anywhere because your hero will be destroyed one way or the other. P.S. Your education failed you, learn how to spell.