After two years of running the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Commissioner Karla Davis is resigning from her post.
According to a release from Gov. Bill Haslam’s office, Davis is stepping down “due to family reasons.” The resignation is immediate, according to a spokesman.
The resignation comes as the governor hopes to push through a 62-page bill in the legislature that overhauls the state worker’s compensation system. Among the changes in his administration’s proposal is to forward injured workers’ claims through a new state panel and out of the court system.
The commissioner is also getting heat from a lawsuit that alleges her agency has forced out long-time employees. Just last week, both sides in the lawsuit agreed to a protective order keeping certain records dredged up during the lawsuit private, such as those that contain personal or confidential information, like proprietary business or operations details and personal financial records.
Davis has served with the governor since the beginning of his term in 2010 and has worked on issues such as an online database to connect job seekers to employers.
She will be replaced temporarily by Burns Phillips, who is currently managing director in the state’s Department of Finance and Administration, and oversees “customer-focused government initiatives administration wide.”
“Burns brings both public and private sector experience to this interim role,” Haslam said in a press release issued Monday morning. “I appreciate his willingness to take on these responsibilities as we continue to focus on serving the citizens of Tennessee.”
Davis is the second member of Haslam’s administration to step down. She follows Department of Children and Family Services Commissioner Kathryn O’Day who resigned last month following increased media scrutiny of the department and a lawsuit filed by media organizations seeking access to records on the deaths of children who came in contact with the agency.