VOL. 125 | NO. 239 | Thursday, December 9, 2010
Haslam Names Gibbons to Cabinet Safety Position
By Bill Dries
Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons is leaving the job as the county’s chief prosecutor to join the cabinet of Gov.-Elect Bill Haslam.
Gibbons will be commissioner of public safety and homeland security. What were once two separate cabinet positions were combined under the administration of outgoing Gov. Phil Bredesen.
The office duties include not only the state’s response to terrorism but also the Tennessee Highway Patrol and drivers’ license testing facilities.
Gibbons will start in the state job on Jan. 15. In announcing the appointment, Haslam also announced he is appointing Deputy DA Amy Weirich to serve as District Attorney
General until an election can be held in 2012. Weirich said she plans to run for the position in that election.
Her appointment is the first at a local level that Haslam has made since winning the governor’s office in the Nov. 2 statewide election.
Weirich was recently named to the No. 2 position in the office. She is the first woman to hold the office of District Attorney General in Shelby County. She is one of only four in the entire state. Weirich spent 20 years as a trial attorney before her recent move to the administrative side of the office.
Gibbons told reporters he will remain a Memphis resident and commute to Nashville as well as keep a condominium there. He will also remain head of Operation Safe Community, the local anti-crime coalition credited with the city’s drop in crime.
Gibbons and Haslam were part of a spirited four-way GOP primary for governor earlier this year until Gibbons dropped out of the race.
After Gibbons dropped out, Haslam talked with him several times about anti-crime initiatives that Gibbons made the centerpiece of his campaign.
Gibbons said he was surprised several weeks ago when Haslam approached him about the appointment.
Haslam added to Gibbons’ duties the leadership of a cabinet working group to develop the new administration’s consolidated plan for combating crime.