Here comes Zane

Sandra Clark

When Gov. Bill Haslam announced a lineup of appointees to board and commissions last week, one name jumped out. That’s the younger son of U.S. Rep. Jimmy and Lynn Duncan, Zane Duncan, age 30-something.

He was named to the state’s Board of Parole – one of seven members to serve a 6-year term at annual pay of $95,136 plus full benefits.

Zane Duncan
Zane Duncan
Duncan graduated from Lincoln Memorial University in 2008 with a degree in kinesiology, according to the college’s website. He took a job in public relations with the R.J. Corman Railroad Group, a short-line firm based in Nicholasville, Ky., where he works as a lobbyist in six states and Washington, D.C.

Melissa McDonald, parole board spokesperson, said members are expected to work fulltime. After several weeks of extensive training, new members will start hearing cases.

“We hear 17,000 cases a year, as the law makes people eligible for parole. Traditionally, the board paroles about one-third of those eligible.”

The board itself is budgeted for $7.3 million which includes expenses for the seven board members. Each has an office in his/her home county and one assistant.

“Board members formerly traveled to prisons,” said McDonald. “Now we hold hearings by webcam. They’re live and face-to-face.”

A quick check online shows how Haslam is reshaping the board. He appointed former state Rep. Richard Montgomery to the board in January 2013 and named him chair in July 2013. Also in 2013, Haslam appointed former Bradley County Sheriff (2006-10) Tim Gobble and retired Nashville police officer Gary Faulcon.

In 2014, Haslam appointed Barrett Rich, a three-term state representative and former state trooper.

Remaining on the board is Gay Gregson, a special education teacher who owned a HoneyBaked Ham café in Jackson.

Now Duncan and Roberta Kustoff, a Republican lawyer from Memphis, have joined the board. It’s a job somebody’s got to do, but with the salary and benefits package it’s more than just another volunteer opportunity.

“We’ve got all ages and all walks of life (on the board),” said McDonald.

With a tilt toward former cops and Republican politicians, it seems.

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