Weekly Obsession: Meet the new boss

Monday, November 7, 2011 at 9:05pm

It was no surprise to observers of the Metro Parks Department (whoever they are) when the parks board dropped the initial descriptor from interim parks Director Tommy Lynch’s title and gave him the full-time gig.

Lynch has worked for Parks for 40 years, and for the past 21 months has led the $30 million, 370-some-odd employee department — battling through the flood and the budgetary turmoil in the wake of his predecessor’s tiff with Mayor Karl Dean. There is little doubt he is qualified, just as there was little doubt he would be the board’s pick.

But go back to his appointment as the interim director and there was at least a little doubt he’d take the job from one source: Lynch himself.

He said he wouldn’t apply for the permanent job. Now, he says it’s because he expected Curt Garrigan — at the time, like Lynch, an assistant director — to go for the corner office. Garrigan has since taken a job in Paris (the one in France, not the one in Henry County) with the U.N. 

Lynch isn’t the only department head who’s moved from interim to actual after saying he’d serve only sede vacante. Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson put on the golden badge — just a temporary move, at the time, he said — after Ronal Serpas moved to New Orleans. But he, like Lynch, later ended up with the job full time even though he said he wouldn’t.

Apparently, these Sherman Statements came with crossed fingers.

This is not to say Lynch and Anderson aren’t qualified — both men are, highly, even uniquely so — but it is a lesson that in the event seat-holders must be appointed, if appointees say they’re just keeping the office warm, they’re probably not being totally forthcoming.

When the appointment is as widely accepted — even lauded — as Lynch’s was, expect everyone to tie themselves to it. Dean — who was so busy early last week he couldn’t comment on the Occupy Nashville protests that dominated the news cycle — churned out a 330-word statement “announcing” Lynch’s hiring. This was despite the fact the hiring had been reported some three hours earlier and, besides, the mayor had nothing to do with it in the first place.

4 Comments on this post:

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