Jim Fyke, former Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation commissioner, has been tapped to work part time for the Metro Finance Department.
Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling told The City Paper he expects Fyke to join the department next week, manning a new special assistant position. Riebeling envisions Fyke, longtime director of the Metro Department of Parks and Recreation, assisting in a number of projects in his new role, including open-space initiatives.
"There are still details to come, but I think when you have somebody with his breadth of knowledge in state and local government, and he’s interested in continuing service, you ought to take advantage of it,” Riebeling said.
“We’ll assign him projects as they arise on a case basis,” he added. “He’s just got a depth of knowledge, ranging from all parks-related issues, to open-space issues.
“The job will evolve over time,” he said.
Riebeling said the department hasn’t finalized Fyke’s salary, but estimated the part-time position would pay approximately $60,000 per year.
Fyke, who led the state’s environment and conservation department under former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, departed that position with the recent arrival of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.
“I just was not ready to completely stop,” Fyke said. “I’m on a pension with Metro, so I could go back to work 19-and-a-half hours a week. Rich [Riebeling] and I go all the way back to the [former Mayor Richard] Fulton days. We were just talking and I thought I could help him in some areas.”
Fyke, who said he’s “excited” about the new job, mentioned assisting Metro Water Services to help the department follow conservation orders enforced by the U.S. Environmental and Protection Agency. He said he’s also discussed helping in potential open-space acquisition.
“For the last eight years in the state, I spent a lot of time with Gov. Bredesen on acquisition across the entire state,” Fyke said. “We protected about 350,000 acres under this state administration. I assume that there might be a role there. I do not know specifically what that is, but that has been mentioned.
“Whatever comes up, and [Riebeling] thinks I have some experience or expertise, I will hopefully be willing and able to help him,” Fyke said.