NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam today announced he has named Burns Phillips as the new commissioner of the troubled Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
Phillips has been serving as acting commissioner after the abrupt departure of then-chief Karla Davis shortly before an audit critical of the department’s operations was released.
Haslam said in a news release that Burns has “both public and private sector experience and has served in multiple departments at the state level, and I appreciate his willingness to continue serving at Labor and Workforce Development.”
On Tuesday, Phillips won praise from members of the Legislature’s Fiscal Review Committee as he gave a departmental review.
“It sounds like things are moving in the right direction,” Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, the panel’s chairman, told Phillips.
Phillips, 64, once worked in the state’s budget office early in his career before going to work in the private sector where in 1991 he founded a surgical instrument company that operates in the U.S. and 30 other countries.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...