TRA chair hopes proposed cuts, requirements not aimed at him

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 9:45am

Tennessee Regulatory Authority executives are facing a major cut to their salaries following the proposal of a bill that will also include new requirements regarding education and experience.

Kenneth Hill, TRA chairman, would face re-appointment under a proposed law that states directors must “have experience in one or more of the industries regulated by the TRA, executive level management experience, or experience that qualifies the director...to efficiently and effectively administer the functions of the TRA.” The TRA regulates investor-owned telecommunications and utility companies.

Hill, a former religious radio operator from East Tennessee, was appointed to the TRA by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey in 2009.

Hill, who is listed as “Dr. Kenneth C. Hill” on the TRA's website, has bachelor's and master's degrees in broadcasting from East Tennessee State University and Indiana State University. His doctorate of religious education, however, comes from Andersonville Baptist Seminary, an unaccredited Christian school.

ABS, which now goes by Andersonville Theological Seminary, offers distance learning programs and a doctorate “degree” requires 30 hours of coursework. On its annual tax filings, Andersonville identifies itself as a church, not a school. Its address is located in an industrial area of Camilla, Ga.

Also listed among "educational achievements" are a bachelor's degree from Baptist Christian College in Louisiana and a master's degree from Manahath School of Theology in Virginia. Neither are sanctioned by traditionally accepted accrediting bodies.

But Hill said he wasn't concerned about accreditation because theology was his “avocation,” not his vocation.

“I wasn't taking that class or any of those course works to get a job so I wasn't worried about accreditation per se. I was more concerned about theological education,” Hill said. “I did learn a lot on the theological side from all of my theological education. I think it was worth it.”

And even though the proposed law requires more stringent educational standards for directors, Hill said he feels like the bill isn't directed at him or the current TRA directors.

“We would hope that that's not the case,” Hill said. “Really, what's needed in my opinion are clear-thinking people who understand business and consumers... then you have to learn to work within the regulatory framework.”

The proposed bill also would make the directors part-time and cut their salaries from $152,000 to $36,000 per year. An executive director position, appointed by the governor, would also be added.

“With those changes, basically I would say that we don't see it as being favorable for the consumer in Tennessee ... or for efficiency here,” Hill said. “There would be so many changes that will have to take place and quite honestly I don't think part-time directors will be able to do it.”

The TRA, which regulates private telecommunications and utility companies, has its reorganization bill set to be heard by the House today and the Senate on Thursday.

10 Comments on this post:

By: jsnap on 3/27/12 at 12:36

The TRA is just a place for politicians to appoint friends. Go back and look at all the employees there and check their political connections. Just another cesspool for politicians.

By: Kosh III on 3/27/12 at 2:35

"proposed law that states directors must “have experience in one or more of the industries regulated"

In other words, it lets the fox guard the hen house.

By: Eye Nose & Now ... on 3/28/12 at 9:17

Graduates of theological seminaries usually turn out to be the most UN-Christian
people of all.

By: Eye Nose & Now ... on 3/28/12 at 9:17

Graduates of theological seminaries usually turn out to be the most UN-Christian
people of all.

By: jonw on 3/28/12 at 9:45

JON
Eye Nose & Now ...
Opinions are like butt holes. Everyone rates one. - - - guess we now know yours - - - not once but twice.

By: GoodieTwoShoes on 3/28/12 at 11:40

TRA is an agency that regulates fair rates for the consumer. Any time a utility wants to raise your rates, it goes through here first. Why would you want to hamper something that protects the citizens of your state?

By: govskeptic on 3/28/12 at 2:10

Being an uncredited institution sounds like it was little more than a diploma
mill. Of course, that's about what Ramsey has. The TRA could be a very
good organization for the citizens as it is in many other states. This state
however, under Democrats or Republicans could give a damn about
the citizens having any Consumer rights or protections!

By: Elmer Gantry on 3/29/12 at 6:25

“There would be so many changes that will have to take place and quite honestly I don't think part-time directors will be able to do it.” -- Tennessee Regulatory Authority Chairman Kenneth C. Hill.

Perhaps TRA Chairman Kenneth C. Hill would care to explain how he was not working as a part-time Tennessee Regulatory Authority Director during 2009 (Hill was first appointed to by Ramsey and approved by the Tennessee General Assembly during January 2009), when he stated under penalty of law within the IRS Form 990s 'Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax' that he was working average 60 hour work weeks as the President of his Bristol based, 501(c)(3) tax exempt Appalachian Educational Communication Corporation, received $36,000 working as Vice President of the Southwest Radio Church of the Air, etc.:

Guidestar.org - Appalachian Educational Communication Corporation (AECC)
http://www.guidestar.org/organizations/52-…

AECC 2009 IRS Form 990 - TRA Director Hill's 60 hour work week at AECC
http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2009…

*HB 2385 by *McCormick , Marsh ( SB 2247 by *Norris)
http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/107/Bill/H…
Tennessee Regulatory Authority - As introduced, changes the membership of the authority to be five part-time directors instead of four full-time directors; sets the salaries of such directors; revises other provisions regarding the Authority. - Amends TCA Title 65.

"...SECTION 7. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 65-1-105, shall be amended by
deleting subsection (a) and substituting instead the following:

(a) The compensation of each director of the Tennessee regulatory authority
shall be $36,000.00 per year payable monthly out of the state treasury on the warrant of
the commissioner of finance and administration. When directors are assigned to serve
on the panel of a matter lasting more than one (1) day, the director shall be
compensated $140.00 for each day, or portion of a day, following the first day, for the
duration of the matter."

***

TRA chair hopes proposed cuts, requirements not aimed at him
http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city…
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 9:45am
By Pierce Greenberg

"...And even though the proposed law requires more stringent educational standards for directors, Hill said he feels like the bill isn't directed at him or the current TRA directors.

“We would hope that that's not the case,” Hill said. “Really, what's needed in my opinion are clear-thinking people who understand business and consumers... then you have to learn to work within the regulatory framework.”

The proposed bill also would make the directors part-time and cut their salaries from $152,000 to $36,000 per year. An executive director position, appointed by the governor, would also be added.

“With those changes, basically I would say that we don't see it as being favorable for the consumer in Tennessee ... or for efficiency here,” Hill said. “There would be so many changes that will have to take place and quite honestly I don't think part-time directors will be able to do it.”

The TRA, which regulates private telecommunications and utility companies, has its reorganization bill set to be heard by the House today and the Senate on Thursday."

By: Elmer Gantry on 3/29/12 at 6:43

Guidestar.org - Appalachian Educational Communication Corporation (AECC)
http://www.guidestar.org/organizations/52-1221965/appalachian-educational-communication-corp.aspx

AECC 2009 IRS Form 990 - TRA Director Hill's 60 hour work week at AECC
http://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2009/521/221/2009-521221965-06a86d2e-9.pdf

*HB 2385 by *McCormick , Marsh ( SB 2247 by *Norris)
http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/Default.aspx?BillNumber=HB2385

By: Elmer Gantry on 4/13/12 at 10:27

Rep. Eric Watson
R-Cleveland
District 22 — Meigs, Polk and part of Bradley Counties
http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/house/members/h22.html

Graduate of the Tennessee Public School System [?]
Graduate of the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy
Andersonville Theological Seminary, Camilla, GA., Masters Degree, Summa Cum Laude
Andersonville Theological Seminary, Camilla, GA., Bachelor of Education, Summa Cum Laude
University of Tennessee, Martin, TN., Professional Degree- Law Enforcement [?]
Graduate of Tennessee Sheriff's School
United States Marshall Service Academy, Glynco, GA