As the incoming Trump administration gets ready to take office Jan. 20, there will be a changeover in the U.S. attorneys and U.S. marshals across the country. Former Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison is widely mentioned as becoming U.S. marshal. The position, along with the U.S. attorney, must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, which by tradition means Sens. Corker and Alexander will have to sign off on it to become effective.
Whoever it is, there must be vetting, an actual presidential nomination plus a vote by the Senate. It will be June 2017 before a new marshal and U.S. attorney actually take office, assuming there are no delaying issues.
When one person holds political office for almost 30 years, folks fall out of the habit of running for the job. And when a man as generally respected as former state Rep. Joe Armstrong goes to trial just days after the primary, folks are hesitant to challenge him, not knowing the outcome and hoping for the best.
Thus, the Republicans did not field a candidate in District 15, and after Armstrong’s Aug. 8 conviction of filing a false income tax report, it was too late for the GOP to select a nominee. Only former Rep. Pete Drew, who held office as both a Democrat and Republican and then left town for decades, had qualified to oppose Armstrong. Drew qualified as an independent.
It seems that the University of Tennessee Athletic Department is not alone when it comes to treating some women less fairly than men. Over $5.5 million has been paid out by UT to make the lawsuits over Title IX gender violations go away.
A few blocks away in the City County Building, it seems that the Metropolitan Planning Commission has been doing similar things to some women on its staff. In fact, Dee Anne Reynolds, who was the chief financial officer before former director Mark Donaldson fired her, filed a lawsuit over an employment retaliation issue from which she is now collecting $800,000.
The rumor that Gloria Johnson might switch districts started the day state Rep. Joe Armstrong was convicted in federal court of filing a false incomes tax return and stripped of his office.
“I was out in South Knoxville at a volunteer meeting that night, and noticed my Twitter feed had a tweet from a College Republican about me moving to the 15th District. I thought, ‘What a ridiculous rumor,’” said Johnson, who held the 13th District seat from 2012-2014, when she was defeated for re-election by Republican Eddie Smith. Johnson is squaring off against Smith in November.
State Rep. Roger Kane, longtime champion of the Lady Vols, says that “restoring the name of the Lady Vols to women’s sports at UT would be a wonderful way to honor the memory of Pat Summitt,” who passed away last week.
Kane, along with many others, believes that Athletic Director Dave Hart would never have touched the Lady Vols name had Pat Summitt been able to articulate her views against it prior to the onset of her illness.
West Hills residents should not and probably will not accept delay on getting their sidewalk built for Sheffield Drive from Wesley Road to Vanosdale. With Vice Mayor Duane Grieve as well as two potential mayoral candidates, George Wallace and Marshall Stair, supporting the effort, they can achieve results.
If necessary they can amend the city budget. It is a significant safety issue. While Mayor Madeline Rogero did not attend the walk in West Hills, she is smart enough to know this issue could have traction and may agree to adding it to her budget on her own.
Alan Mealka, longtime superintendent of Tennessee School for the Deaf, is retiring this week after leading the school for 20 years. He is third longest-serving superintendent in the history of TSD, which is 172 years old and has always been in Knoxville.
Mealka, 67, has spent most of his professional life working with youth who are deaf. He was once superintendent of the North Dakota School for the Deaf in Devils Lake, N.D. Born and raised in Lafayette, Ind., he graduated from Ball State University in 1978 with a master’s in special education for the deaf after receiving his undergraduate degree from Indiana State University in Terre Haute.
State Rep. Joe Armstrong is legally entitled to keep the seat he has held in the Tennessee General Assembly since 1988 unless he is found guilty or enters a plea on the federal tax fraud charge for which he was indicted last week. Knox County Election Commission administrator Cliff Rodgers confirmed that Armstrong, who entered a not guilty plea, cannot be forced out simply because he was indicted.
Armstrong is accused only of tax fraud, not public corruption.