Tennessee Governor’s Press Secretary Has no Voice Mail

NINE MONTHS ISN’T ENOUGH?

by Sharon Rondeau

Gov. Bill Lee took office in January 2012

(Sep. 10, 2019) — On Tuesday afternoon, The Post & Email attempted unsuccessfully to reach the press secretary for Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on what we believe is an urgent matter involving the safety and well-being of several Tennessee minor children.

The state’s child protective agency, CPS, has already been contacted multiple times by parties with direct knowledge of the alleged abuse, and appears to have taken no action.

We first called the governor’s office at 615-741-2001 and asked to speak with a member of Lee’s staff.  We were transferred to a woman who said, once learning we were media, that she would connect us to the governor’s press secretary.  We waited approximately three seconds, heard a click, and then ten seconds later the call was disconnected.

On our second call, we asked directly for the press secretary and were transferred.  After a few seconds, we heard a recording which stated, “Sorry, the person you are trying to reach has a voice mailbox that hasn’t been set up yet.  Please try your call again later; goodbye.”

According to Wikipedia, a press secretary “is a senior advisor who provides advice on how to deal with the news media and, using news management techniques, helps his or her employer to maintain a positive public image and avoid negative media coverage.”

Zippia.com describes the job of a press secretary as managing “an organization’s communication with the public, including consumers, investors, reporters, and other media specialists. In government, public relations specialists may be called press secretaries. In this setting, workers keep the public informed about the activities of government officials and agencies.”

Tennessee CPS Commissioner Jennifer Nichols

The Post & Email had wished to communicate that it received a credible report, along with copious documentation, that Lee’s DCS Commissioner, Jennifer Nichols, has not followed up on a complaint of child abuse and neglect in Madison County which local government actors appear to have obfuscated.

Lee appointed Nichols commissioner shortly after he took office following his successful November 2018 election.  Nichols was formerly “Assistant District Attorney General in Shelby County for more than 20 years,” according to her CPS biography.

The Post & Email has received numerous reports of corruption in the Shelby County prosecutor’s office, now headed by District Attorney General Amy Weirich.  In March 2017, Weirich received a private reprimand from the Tennessee Supreme Court for unethical conduct in the courtroom associated with the Noura Jackson case.

In July 2017, Weirich was found to be “#1” in the areas of “misconduct” and “reversal” in a study of chief prosecutors in the states of Louisiana, Tennessee, California, and Missouri conducted by the Fair Punishment Project.

When Lee entered the governor’s mansion, he stated that he was “focused on several priorities including good jobs, great schools, and safe neighborhoods so we can keep Tennessee moving in the right direction.”

The State of Tennessee is consistently ranked among one of the highest in public corruption.

 

 

 

 

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