Monday, February 07, 2011

How many more former Bredesenistas will Karl Dean be employing in these times of economic downturn and budget austerity?

The Mayor's Office has cut 435 Metro employees and slashed millions of dollars from Metro services in the past 3 years. In anticipation of next year's budget, Karl Dean asked Metro departments across the board to cut 3% more.

Such a dire financial situation of cash flow in full retreat did not stop Mayor Dean from unapologetically hiring Jim Fyke fresh off his stint with Governor Phil Bredesen for a vague part-time position with a payout of $60,000.

And I'm hearing that the Mayor is planning on hiring more former Bredesen big shots for indeterminate part-time positions, some of whom may enjoy some sweet Metro pensions from previous Metro employment:

  • Tam Gordon (Bredesen Special Assistant) is said to be slated for the Mayor's Office "doing some stuff"
  • Gerald Nicely (Bredesen Deputy) is said to be slated to work in the Mayor's Office
  • Emmett Turner (Bredesen fire prevention official) is said to be slated to work in Metro Beautification
  • Janie Conyers (Bredesen Administrative Chief)

What a stark contrast between these part-time hires for the increasingly top heavy Mayor's Office and the hundreds of public school custodians at the lower end of the Metro pecking order who lost their jobs in 2010 due to outsourcing. I think my tax dollars were better spent at the lower end.

And what a contrast to the desperate tone Karl Dean set in 2008 when he ordered a Metro hiring freeze and declared, "We have to manage within the resources we have available and everybody, every family in Nashville, every business in Nashville are doing the same thing."

How many struggling families or small businesses would consider loading up with career bureaucrats and Bredesen insiders to shore up their strained budgets?

UPDATE: City Paper confirms Tam Gordon hire.

UPDATE: In a release sent out earlier today [Tuesday], the Mayor's Office vaguely addresses where the money is going to come from to pay Tam Gordon:

Gordon started work with Metro this week and was hired within the existing budget for the Mayor’s Office. Dean said other recent changes in staff and fiscal management made the funds for her position available.

Does that sound accountable enough for you, taxpayers? I'm still stunned at how staff and fiscal management changes can free up money to pay for heavy-hitters from state government when the previous message was that Metro could not possibly afford to pay custodians or hire any other Metro workers. Granted, those messages did not come during election years.

UPDATE: In a press release just out Tuesday afternoon, Save My Fairgrounds looks at the probable hiring of Gerald Nicely by Mayor Dean and sees the handwriting on the wall for their cause:

Statement on the Hiring of Gerald Nicely
Nicely Rumored to Head the “Fairgrounds Issue” Despite Mayor’s “Time Out”

Save My Fairgrounds is surprised to learn reports of Gerald Nicely’s pending hire with the Mayor’s office .... Nicely spent nearly 40 years on the government payroll, including nearly 20 years at MDHA, whose office building now bears his name ....

Mayor Dean said he supports the Council’s decision to conduct a master planning process for the Fairgrounds and surrounding neighborhoods. Dean has repeatedly suggested he is “taking a time out” on redeveloping the Fairgrounds, but with the addition of Nicely, he appears ready to shift into over-drive by circumventing the Council and Fair Board.

UPDATE: Channel 4's Nancy Amons confirmed on Tuesday night's 10:00 broadcast that Emmett Turner is accepting one of the "high-paid, unadvertised" openings in the Dean administration.

UPDATE: Tiny Cat Pants ponders how convenient it was to find money for these particular unemployed bureaucrats:

Forget why Dean would do this. Clearly, he has his reasons and eventually the city will pay a PR team to tell them to Gail Kerr, who will tell them to us.

What I want to know is who would take these jobs?! Even if you’re a great candidate, even if you think the city needs really talented people, what kind of person would not see red-flags from this? If the city needs someone to helm, say, a “poverty initiative,” why not advertise for the job and see who’s interested? Maybe the best candidate is Tam Gordon, in which case, great! But maybe there’s someone else who’d be better. We’ll never know because these jobs weren’t posted. They’re not even defined. People became available and jobs were made up for them.


  1. I bet they find a way to offset.

    My guess: Toby will answer phones in the Haslam admin. Alexia will be lucky to be Toby's boss. Janel will be moved out. Hester is already busy counting how many words rhyme with "flood" for the campaign jingle.

    The real question is what happens to Rich or Greg or Marty?

  2. If Haslam is dumb enough to hire Toby or Alexia, then expect a big failure coming soon in his administration. Toby was obviously closely involved in the redevelopment of the Fairgrounds. Alexia said they were working on it since the Mayor's 1st week in office. Good job, team. If you cared about your boss, you would've offered your resignation on Jan. 19.

    I have a flood rhyme for you: even after the PR hype of the flood, this mayor's still a dud.

  3. I voted for Dean. What he has demonstrated since being elected is a lack of leadership and managerial skills. Yes, a good manager delegates, but he or she does not pass off responsibilties. Dean's reliance on "comittees" and" advisors" shows that he is unwilling to grab the bull by by horns and go down into the dirt. I'm not sure if he is in over his head or just playing politics. I would continue with my rodeo theme and make a joke about rodeo clowns, except they take their jobs seriously and know what is at stake. It's time for Dean to quit hiding behind the big, rubber barrel.

  4. Patiently waiting for Sledge, Trail, Moorman and Agee to announce their support and how this will help restore Brown's Creek.

  5. Even more disturbing -Rumor is that all the hires are being taken on to work a few more years so they can get a Metro pension. So you and I will be paying their pension well beyond Dean leaving office. What an outrage!

  6. The few Metro custodians that were rehired took a cut in pay up to $5 an hour. Their hours have been cut, so while making less per hour they are also working less hours. They were promised health insurance similar to what they had with Metro. Wrong. Their new healthcare under GCA has a $5000 deductable. Most do not have healthcare now. GCA has also been subcontracting out custodial positions. These custodians are barely making minimum wage and who knows if there are background checks?

    Word on the street is they want to privatize food service workers next.

    Do we wonder why people are leaving Nashville? Our tax money is used to create jobs for Dean's buddies while the working class is thrown the crumbs that are left over.

  7. I'm starting to think we're in Egypt. The old guard just won't go away.