Ryan Robinson, the new vice chancellor for communications for UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport, receives a significant pay boost moving from assistant spokesman for the Athletics Department to the Chancellor’s office on May 17. He jumps $80,000 from his current $145,000 a year to $225,000.
This is more than double what the communications directors for Knoxville and Knox County make. It far exceeds the going rate for media people in the East Tennessee area. Why is UT doing this? The answer will be it is consistent with comparable positions in other universities. Many do not agree with that argument.
Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones will be a credible candidate for county mayor, if he runs, and will keep Commissioner Bob Thomas and perhaps Glenn Jacobs, if he enters the race, busy. However, Jones will need to overcome the impression that he is only a sheriff.
Three previous sheriffs tried to transition to executive or legislative office in Knox County and failed. They were Archie Weaver for city mayor in 1965, Bernard Waggoner for state senator in 1974 and Tim Hutchison for county mayor in 2010. Democrats do not yet have a credible candidate, and the GOP primary in May 2018 will decide who the next county mayor will be.
The annual banquet of the Union County Chamber of Commerce is a celebration of accomplishments and a look toward the future. It’s also a fundraiser for the group that promotes tourism as it recruits and supports local businesses.
Randy Boyd brought star power as the guest speaker. He recently resigned as commissioner of the state’s Economic and Community Development Department.
City Council member and former mayor Daniel Brown turns 71 on Christmas Day. Brown, the first black mayor of Knoxville, might run for state representative against Rick Staples in 2018 in the Democratic primary. Staples was chosen as the Democratic nominee by 14 people without a primary and prevailed Nov. 8 over former state Rep. Pete Drew, who ran as an independent.
Staples needs to win a seriously competitive race to consolidate his political standing.
Gov. Bill Haslam, Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd and 18 business leaders from Tennessee, including three from Knoxville, recently returned from a trip to Israel to “sell” Tennessee as a site for new business.
The biggest challenge, Boyd says, is that the only thing most Israelis know about the state is that it’s the home of Jack Daniel’s and Elvis Presley.