Gov. Phil Bredesen has had “former” in front of his title for about a month, and he seems content to be doing not a whole lot of anything. His last prominent public appearance was the night of Bill Haslam’s inauguration, cheering on the Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
Presumably, the former governor has packed up all his green vests and gone fishing. But former staffers for Bredesen don’t seem quite as eager to retire. In fact, they all seem to want to work for Mayor Karl Dean.
Confirmed Dean administration hires from the Bredesen administration include former special assistant for projects Tam Gordon, former Environment and Conservation commissioner Jim Fyke, and former Transportation Department spokeswoman Julie Oaks. From Bredesen’s mayoral days, ex-Police Chief Emmett Turner has also taken a gig with the administration.
It’s almost as if Dean is running a Bredesen Bureaucrat Employment Plan.
Obviously, these folks have experience and aren’t, on the whole, bad moves for Team Dean, which suffered the biggest setback of its first term during the recent fairgrounds kerfuffle. Maybe bringing in the Bredesenites is a strategic shift ahead of a re-election bid and whatever the next political fight is on the horizon.
And maybe more old hands are in the waiting. Bredesen Finance and Administration honcho Dave Goetz once worked as chief political reporter for WTVF-Channel 5 before serving as president of the state chamber of commerce. That’s a deadly combination. Surely he’s worth a $60,000 part-time job with a vague description in Metro Finance — similar to what Fyke scored.
Former economic development commissioner Matt Kisber and revenue chief Reagan Farr just took gigs with swanky financial services firm Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain, but surely they could be convinced to work in “outreach” for Metro Beautification like Turner. Well, probably not: The former police chief is only making $15 an hour.
Bredesen received generally high marks for his time as mayor of Nashville, so maybe the re-emergence of his staff is a sign that the Dean administration wants a little of that magic to rub off. In some cases, they’re willing to pay a pretty penny for it.