Haslam Announces Retirement Of TEMA Director Jim Bassham

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday announced the retirement of Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) Director Jim Bassham effective April 7. 

Mr. Bassham led TEMA through the response to hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Gustav; devastating tornadoes that ripped through Tennessee in 2006 and 2008; the Nashville floods in 2010; tornadoes through the Southeastern part of the state in 2011; and the flooding of the Mississippi River in West Tennessee in May 2011.

“Tennessee is grateful to Jim for his service through some of our state’s toughest times dealing with severe weather,” Governor Haslam said. “Under Jim’s leadership, TEMA has become a national model for emergency management.”

The TEMA director is charged with the responsibility for ensuring that state and local governments are prepared to deal with disasters and emergencies that affect Tennesseans. In addition, the director has the responsibility to help prepare citizens to deal with emergencies and the aftermath.

Before taking the helm at TEMA in July 2003, Mr. Bassham served as the assistant adjutant general-air for the Tennessee National Guard from 1995 until 2002.

“Jim Bassham took TEMA to a new level in emergency preparedness and has worked tirelessly to improve services provided to the citizens of Tennessee,” Maj. Gen. Max Haston, the adjutant general and commissioner of the Military Department, said. “He established the standards by which others are measured."

Governor Haslam also announced that Department of Safety and Homeland Security Assistant Commissioner David Purkey would serve as the interim TEMA director through June 30. A permanent director will be named at a later date.

Mr. Purkey will continue serving as assistant commissioner of Safety and Homeland Security during his time as interim TEMA director. Before serving as assistant commissioner, Mr. Purkey served as director of the Emergency Management Agency for Hamblen County and as a Tennessee state trooper, an agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and mayor of Hamblen County.

“David brings a wealth of experience to his new task and understands the importance of cooperation between state and local governments,” Governor Haslam said.

“David has done an excellent job of retooling and changing the focus of homeland security efforts in order to have a greater impact on our state’s safety.  He is a top notch manager,” Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.


Knowles Says IMPROVE Act To Cause Certain Fees To Rise In His Office

County Clerk Bill Knowles said the IMPROVE Act that was recently signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam to fund 1,000 road and bridge projects across the state will cause certain fees to rise in his office.   In order to fund the improvements, one portion of the plan calls for an increase in vehicle registration fees.  Mr. Knowles said 100 percent of the ... (click for more)

House Majority Leader Casada Calls On Metro Council "To Put Safety Above Politics" On Sanctuary City Vote

House Majority Leader Glen Casada (R-Thompson's Station) on Monday called on the Nashville Metro Council "to put the safety of Tennesseans above their personal political beliefs" as the  July 6  deadline approaches for the Council to take up a third and final reading of controversial Ordinance 739 - a proposed law that Rep. Casada said "would turn Nashville into a ... (click for more)

Exempt Volunteer Fire Departments From Procurement Policies - And Response (2)

The Hamilton County Commission just grouped a bunch of departments together in an attempt to reign in the CVB. I haven't spoken to any commissioners, but I truly believe it was unknowingly. By mandating that all non profits that receive 25 percent of their revenue follow county procurement policies, they might as well have padlocked all local volunteer fire departments. We expect ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Deadly ‘Holy Trinity’

If you have grown tired and calloused to America’s horrifying opioid epidemic, please consider what the epidemic has become. A report last week found that, in the United States, emergency room cases including opioid abuse jumped a staggering 99 percent between 2009 and 2014. It is believed that last year over 60,000 Americans died from drug overdoses and – far worse – more than ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Continues Hot Second-Half Start With Two 6-0 Wins Over Pensacola Sunday

Game One Sunday Andy Wilkins had three hits and two RBI, and Dereck Rodriguez allowed just two hits over six innings as the Chattanooga Lookouts beat the Pensacola Blue Wahoos 6-0 in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday. Rodriguez (1-0) struck out six and walked two to pick up the win. Up 1-0 in the fourth, Chattanooga added to its lead when LaMonte Wade hit a two-run ... (click for more)

Cleveland High School Selects Joey Knox As Head Wrestling Coach

Cleveland High School has selected Joey Knox as the next head coach for the Blue Raider Wrestling program.  Coach Knox has been with the wrestling program as an assistant since 2013.  During his assistant coaching tenure, the team has secured six Team State Championships, including five individual State Champions and 20 State Medalists.    Cleveland High ... (click for more)