Veteran government official Jim Fyke to work for Metro Finance Department

Friday, January 28, 2011 at 5:35pm

Jim Fyke, former Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation commissioner, has been tapped to work part time for the Metro Finance Department.

Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling told The City Paper he expects Fyke to join the department next week, manning a new special assistant position. Riebeling envisions Fyke, longtime director of the Metro Department of Parks and Recreation, assisting in a number of projects in his new role, including open-space initiatives.  

"There are still details to come, but I think when you have somebody with his breadth of knowledge in state and local government, and he’s interested in continuing service, you ought to take advantage of it,” Riebeling said.

“We’ll assign him projects as they arise on a case basis,” he added. “He’s just got a depth of knowledge, ranging from all parks-related issues, to open-space issues.

“The job will evolve over time,” he said.

Riebeling said the department hasn’t finalized Fyke’s salary, but estimated the part-time position would pay approximately $60,000 per year.

Fyke, who led the state’s environment and conservation department under former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, departed that position with the recent arrival of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

“I just was not ready to completely stop,” Fyke said. “I’m on a pension with Metro, so I could go back to work 19-and-a-half hours a week. Rich [Riebeling] and I go all the way back to the [former Mayor Richard] Fulton days. We were just talking and I thought I could help him in some areas.”

Fyke, who said he’s “excited” about the new job, mentioned assisting Metro Water Services to help the department follow conservation orders enforced by the U.S. Environmental and Protection Agency. He said he’s also discussed helping in potential open-space acquisition.

“For the last eight years in the state, I spent a lot of time with Gov. Bredesen on acquisition across the entire state,” Fyke said. “We protected about 350,000 acres under this state administration. I assume that there might be a role there. I do not know specifically what that is, but that has been mentioned.

“Whatever comes up, and [Riebeling] thinks I have some experience or expertise, I will hopefully be willing and able to help him,” Fyke said.

9 Comments on this post:

By: CrimesDown on 1/28/11 at 11:02

60 dollars an hour. You have got to be kidding me! He's already getting a metro pension, and he's going to work a made up, BS job, and get 60 dollars an hour. This is so funny.

By: jwd88 on 1/29/11 at 6:50

Welcome to the Good Ole Boys Club Mr Fyke. I am sure Mr. Reibeling can find some corruption for you to get involved in... or use you as a patsy when he gets busted again on live tv....What, 60k a year... Wow.. part time and still getting a pension.. That itself has to be illegal........ I would be happy with 30k a year, full time, for my own job....Is metro government is insane or what?.

By: bfra on 1/29/11 at 7:23

That is a common occurance in Metro. If they know the right people, retire, draw a pension, go back to work (19 1/2 hrs. wk) but get paid enough per hr. for regular weeks pay. These free riders, most times, are making way more per hr. than the regular employees and doing less work. Karl & co. should spend more time checking into this, than building Karl ego monuments!

By: racer84 on 1/29/11 at 8:22

I had someone who was very well versed in politics and the media tell me one time
that timing of news releases was critical in getting things by the public....

"If you want to slip something by without being noticed then release the media after 4pm on a Friday afternoon."

I notice this story was released at 4:35 on a Friday afternoon, and not reported anywhere else.

Thanks Joey for reporting.

How many people see this story and know that Fyke's appointment is directly related to the Fairgrounds issue ?

More metro tax dollars being wasted trying to kill the fairgrounds. Not going to happen. The jig is up

By: richgoose on 1/29/11 at 8:31

I am always amazed at how many of those boys who grew up in Old Hickory have managed to live off the "Fat of the Land."

By: bfra on 1/29/11 at 10:13

richgoose - Amazing! You must know some of the same people that I do, but the ones I know, are not all "boys".

By: MAmom on 1/29/11 at 6:12

Fyke says: "Rich [Riebeling] and I go all the way back to the [former Mayor Richard] Fulton days. We were just talking and I thought I could help him in some areas.” Based on what we know about Riebeling, that is omiminous. Now it looks like Riebeling has someone to help him with his malfeasance & sabotage of the Fairgrounds.
Look at the Fair Board financials on the website. They are called CAFRs (Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports). Revenues and Expenses have been rather flat over the past 10 years... BUT LOOK AT THE BALANCE SHEET.

Here are a few things that have happened under management by political appointees on the Fair Board:
1. Buildings+Improvements went from $6,688,370 in 1999
to $12,717,871 in 2010.*
2. Unrestricted reserves went from $9,315,454 in 1999
to $1,278,335 in 2010.**
3. Recent revenue sabotage: (a) Events there are not promoted, (b) the State Fair is leased out, races not allowed, (c) expo vendors are advised to go to Wilson and Williamson County and to make other arrangements when they try to make future reservations.

1. What kind of break-even analysis did you do to justify these capital expenditures?
2. Were these capital improvements and buildings necessary?
3. Who got the contracts? Were they fair?
4. Was it smart or prudent to spend millions of dollars on a building campaign & drain reserves - if you were genuinely concerned about the financial viability of the Fairgrounds?
In the latest set of "Deanileaks" emails there was an email about Fairgrounds "talking points" for the Mayor. In the email was a caution to stay away from the subject of "State Fair expenses". These probably need special scrutiny.
Are the members of the Fair Board liable for spending public funds/Fairgrounds monies STUPIDLY? Was all this building necessary? Were building projects bid and handled properly? Did the public get it's money's worth for these expenditure?

Is the Attorney General or TBI or FBI looking into the shenanigans that have been going on, and probably still are going on, with the Fair Board + Dean + Riebeling?
The Fairgrounds needs professional management, like the Markin report said. It has been incredibly badly managed by the Fair Board.

Save the Fairgrounds.
* from the 1999 CAFR:
Building & Improvements = $4,878,575
Improvements other than buildings = $1,809,795

** from the 2010 CAFR:
Buildings & Improvements = $8,952,480
Improvements other than buildings = $3,765,391

By: MAmom on 1/29/11 at 11:44

Also related to the above, Cash & Equivalents went from $5,101,259 in 1999 down to $1,612,086 in 2010. And Investments are gone.

Very poor oversight by the Fair Board.

The fairgrounds needs to be operated by professional management and have community oversight (versus being operated by bunch of politicians & their friends).

Save the Fairgrounds.

By: Kosh III on 1/30/11 at 6:05

"“The job will evolve over time,” he said"

Translation: we'll get around to finding something for you to do, sooner or later.....