UT official gets $80,000 raise

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

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.

Knoxville lost an outstanding police officer recently when Deputy Police Chief Rudy Bradley died. For 35 years, he was an effective, loyal and dedicated officer. He made Knoxville safer and had the respect of the men and women of the Knoxville Police Department. He was a policeman’s policeman.

Former City Council member Raleigh Wynn Sr. died April 30 at age 93. He served briefly on City Council following the death of council member Danny Mayfield until Mark Brown was elected to the seat.

County Commission Chair David Wright was in Nashville May 1 visiting House Speaker Beth Harwell, Gov. Bill Haslam and State Rep. Harry Brooks, who is retiring. He sat on the House floor during the session. Wright is a likely candidate next year. Wright said Haslam was “supportive” of his possible candidacy during a 15-minute meeting last week.

While Wright has not officially announced, this trip is a very strong indi-cation he is running. Wright said he would wait until his term as chair of commission expires in August before making it official.

Wright’s term on County Commission runs to Aug. 31, 2020. If elected, Wright would resign his commission seat in November or December 2018 and commission would choose his successor, who would serve without election until August 2020.

Wright is actually one year older than Brooks, who has served 15 years. Wright turns 72 this September. Brooks is 71 the same month. If elected next year, Wright would be 73, and probably not serve more than six or eight years. Other candidates for the seat may emerge. State Rep. Roger Kane is also leaving the House next year to run for County Court Clerk.

Randy Boyd had a stellar turnout for his major fundraiser at the Mill & Mine in downtown Knoxville with over 400 raising $1.5 million for the governor’s race. Attendees include U.S. Rep. John Duncan, Knox County Trustee Ed Shouse, Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens, UT vice chair Raja Jubran and UT President Joe DiPietro. Boyd has been a very generous supporter of UTK as well as other groups in Knoxville. It is rare for public university presidents to attend political campaign events.

Haslam hosted a $1,000-a-person fundraiser last Monday, May 8, at the Governor’s Residence in Nashville for Ed Gillespie, who is a Republican running for governor of Virginia this fall.

Jared Isaacs, son of well known and respected criminal defense attorney Greg Isaacs and Melissa, was elected president of the Webb School student body along with Palmer Bradshaw, son of Charlie and Kim Bradshaw, as vice president. Isaacs is the goalie for the lacrosse team.

Dr. Digby Seymour, local Civil War author and physician, died at 93 in Arizona, where he had been living after retirement. He wrote “Divided Loyalties,” which is considered the book on the Civil War in Knoxville. He was the uncle of well known attorney Arthur Seymour Jr. His late wife, Lois, was active in local GOP politics in the 1960s and 1970s.

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