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WHY DID A SIMPLE ANSWER TAKE ALL DAY?

by Sharon Rondeau

The website of the Tennessee Attorney General and Reporter has been updated since The Post & Email and Lt. Col. Field McConnell contacted the office to ask if Herbert Slatery, III had taken office following his investiture ceremony on October 1

(Oct. 3, 2014) — At 8:32 a.m. CDT on Friday, The Post & Email contacted the office of the Tennessee attorney general while writing an article about the swearing-in of Herbert Slatery, III as the state’s new chief law enforcement officer of the Volunteer State.

The official name of the position is “Attorney General and Reporter.”

Slatery was sworn in on Wednesday, although at times those appointed or elected to public office in Tennessee do not assume their duties immediately.  In the case of the incoming Monroe County sheriff, Randy White, White was sworn in on August 21 but did not take office until September 1.

Outgoing Attorney General Robert E. Cooper, Jr.’s eight-year term was due to conclude on October 31.

The receptionist was not authorized to speak to the media and transferred us to a media representative named Rachel.  Rachel asked for our contact information, which we provided, and our deadline, to which we responded “today.”

At 4:54 CDT, or 5:54 EDT, Leigh Ann Jones responded from email address tnattygen@ag.tn.gov to our inquiry:

Ms. Rondau,

In response to your question about the TN Attorney General, Herbert H. Slatery III was sworn in as TN’s 27th Attorney General on Wednesday, October 1, 2014. He assumed office upon taking the oath.  Bob Cooper is no longer the Attorney General for Tennessee.  I hope this information is helpful.

Thank you,

Leigh Ann Jones

Just after 2:30 p.m. CDT on Friday, The Post & Email was speaking with Lt. Col. Field McConnell (USAF-Ret.) on his Abel Danger internet broadcast regarding the lack of response to our simple question as to who was now attorney general, to which  McConnell responded by calling the attorney general’s office on his cell phone to ask the same question.  He received a similar response from the person who answered the call, which dropped after he was put on hold for a short time.

McConnell quickly typed the details of the exchange in an email to The Post & Email, which reads:

today at 1438 the Tennessee Attorney General office phone, 615 741 3491615 741 3491, received a call from Field McConnell at 715 307 8222715 307 8222. The staffer who answered was asked if Herbert H. Slattery III has taken office. After she asked if I was from the media, she told me she did not know and put me on hold, call dropped at 1m38sec

The internet does not appear to have found the update now visible on the attorney general’s website which McConnell was able to see during the broadcast, although The Post & Email was not.

Tennessee is the only state in the nation whose attorney general is appointed by the state supreme court.  A constitutional amendment passed in 1870 which changed the office from popularly-elected to appointed for an eight-year term.

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