Dunn takes state job

Sandra ClarkLet's Talk

Well, Bill Dunn didn’t stay unemployed for long – six days, actually. After 26 years as a state representative, Dunn was replaced Nov. 3 by Michele Carringer. On Nov. 9, Gov. Bill Lee said Dunn had begun work a “senior advisor” to state Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn.

I have requested information on the salary of this job and whether Dunn will be based in Nashville or Knoxville. Additionally, I asked for any expense-reimbursement associated with the advisor’s job and whether there is an expectation of a 40-hour week.

From the office of legislative administration, I asked the monthly amount of Dunn’s legislative pension and whether he can draw it while also working for state government. Look for a follow-up report when I get this information.

Meanwhile, here are some quotes from the presser:

Gov. Lee: “Bill Dunn is one of the most experienced and thoughtful advocates for education in our state who has dedicated his career in state government to improving outcomes for Tennessee’s students. Bill is a man of impeccable integrity, and his counsel will be critical to our success as we navigate one of the most challenging school years in our state’s history.”

Commissioner Schwinn: “We are so thrilled to have Rep. Bill Dunn join the team at the department and continue supporting work that benefits Tennessee students. As a statesman, he dedicated his life to serving Tennesseans and has been respected across the state and across the aisle for his work.”

Advisor Dunn: “It is an honor to … help build upon the great work being done by the Tennessee Department of Education under the leadership of Commissioner Penny Schwinn. Tennessee has made significant gains in public education over the past decade and I look forward to keeping us on an upward trajectory to provide all students with a path to success.”

Dunn’s major contributions to education have been consistent opposition to pre-school programs and vocal support for vouchers – to put public money into private and religious-based schools. Dunn had pre-legislative experience in advising 4-H clubs.

Ask you kid’s teacher if Dunn’s hiring is a good idea. Most will tell you it’s a poke in the eye.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of KnoxTNToday.com

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