TN Safety chief stresses merit in trooper promotions

Sep 12, 2012

Tennessee Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons says he had to send strong signals early in his time in charge of the state Highway Patrol that the election of a new governor would not lead to favoritism for certain troopers.  Gibbons says Republican Governor Bill Haslam insisted after his 2010 election that only performance and merit would influence promotions and assignments.  Gibbons says after the initial surprise on behalf of some within the agency, the policy has contributed to improved morale.  Former Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen had to overhaul the agency following a series of scandals that included troopers with criminal records, allegations of ticket-fixing and a culture of cronyism and political arm-twisting.