State Rep. Mike Turner, facing criticism for a possible conflict of interest, said Thursday he is withdrawing his name from consideration to become director of the Tennessee State Employees Association.
"The job offer was never made, but I told them I'm not interested," said Turner, an Old Hickory firefighter and chair of the House Democratic political caucus.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported Monday Turner was interested in heading the 16,000-member association and planned to remain in the legislature if he took the job. The association lobbies the legislature for pay raises and on other issues. Turner was immediately criticized by state Republican Party chair Chris Devaney.
"If Mike Turner were to get this job, it would be inappropriate for him to continue serving in the General Assembly. It seems to be it would an astounding conflict of interest to hold both positions at the same time," Devaney said.
Turner said today his decision not to seek the job was not to avoid criticism, but he added, "They don't need the publicity and I don't either now. My goal is to take back the House" in the 2010 elections.