The University of Tennessee spends over a half-million dollars a year running its Nashville lobbying office to influence the legislature and state government. The top dog there is Anthony Haynes, who makes $201,088 a year with a pay raise due in July. But he has four others who help him – Carey Whitworth at $80,000; Lou Hanemann at $93,000; Valerie Yancey at $98,500. Connie Cantrell comes in 2 days a week at $31.29 an hour when the other four are overwhelmed with work.
Office space is $40,107 a year at $23.32 per square foot. These figures do not include retirement benefits, and the legislature is in session only four months of the year. So there is interest in what these folks do the other eight months of the year. It is hard to believe there is much heavy lifting when the legislature is away.
Those who had worried that the first female chancellor at UTK, Beverly Davenport, would be serious about diversity can rest easy based on her appointments to the first significant committee she named – the search committee for the new athletic director to replace Dave Hart. She shredded diversity with her six appointments.
The six include only one woman and no African-Americans, but two male trustees and the brother of a third trustee who is the chair of the UT board. Two are neighbors who live three houses apart on Lyons View Pike in West Knoxville on either side of the neglected historic UT-owned Williams House. The woman is Donna Thomas, who works for Hart and will help choose the person she will be working for.
Mayor Madeline Rogero and council member Nick Pavlis deserve credit for adding to our greenway system with the recent announcement that almost a mile will be added in South Knoxville from the Mary Vestal Park over to the Ogle-Martin Mill Pike corner.
Now that greenways in the city are under new management, progress is occurring at a faster pace than in the prior five years. Better late than never for Team Rogero. Let’s hope this pace is maintained and even accelerated. This column will keep checking on the actual progress.
Lindsey Nelson (1919-1995) was perhaps best known nationally as an American sportscaster who had a long career as a play-by-play announcer for college football and the New York Mets baseball team. However, many Vols for life will remember him at a much earlier time when he announced UT football games for the Vol network.
Nelson was a 1941 University of Tennessee graduate who served as a captain in the U.S. Army in World War II in North Africa and in Europe. One of his history professors at UT was Dr. Ruth Stephens. He kept up correspondence with her while overseas and in one long letter he described things he had witnessed and places he had been.
The University of Tennessee has its fair share of problems, starting with a perceived lack of leadership.
To fund or not to fund the unusual diversity movement is a really big deal. Legislators are assisting in this decision. Prone protesters have clogged campus sidewalks. Several professors who weren’t otherwise busy have emerged with carefully considered opinions.
No doubt you have been worrying for weeks about the upcoming Battle at Bristol. What if the Hokies upset the Volunteers and derail the exciting run toward the national championship before it really begins?
Oh, you say the big game hasn’t even entered your mind? You have been wondering if somebody can catch the ball if Joshua Dobbs throws down the field? And you are somewhat interested in how bad is Jalen Reeves-Maybin’s bum shoulder and whether Tennessee can win the fourth quarter against Florida and Alabama?
The Title IX lawsuit against the University of Tennessee may bounce around in the courts for three or four years but the preliminary trial is already over.
The university, the athletic department in particular, has lost in the eyes and ears of the general public. The degree of presumed guilt varies. Those who know the least about the case think the transgressions are monumental.
University of Tennessee Athletic Director Dave Hart barely had time to savor the Vols’ Outback Bowl blowout before UT announced it had settled the pay discrimination cases filed by Jenny Moshak, Heather Mason and Collin Schlosser at a cost of up to $1.225 million.
Add that to the $320,000 already awarded to former women’s sports information director Debby Jennings, who was forced to retire in 2012, and Hart’s actions toward employees of the now defunct Women’s Athletic Department have cost UT more than $1.5 million. Now that the merger of the two departments is complete, only two of the 10 members of Hart’s executive staff are women, one of whom is his secretary/administrative assistant.