This is the second in a three part series discussing the upcoming election of the State of Tennessee Constitutional Officers. The final segment will appear Wednesday, January 7.
This year the Republican gained control of the Tennessee House and Senate: the first time in 140 years.Therefore, they have the numbers to replace the current Constitutional Officers (all appointed by Democrats).
In Part 1 on this series, I discussed the Constitutional Officer of the Comptroller. In this article I will discuss the position of Treasurer, including a description of the Treasurer’s job duties and information on each potential candidate, including the current treasurer, the Honorable Dale Sims.
First, what does the Treasurer do?
Per the Treasurer’s website, the Treasurer is responsible for the following:
- Receiving and disbursing public funds.
- Managing all State investments, including the pension fund (at June 30, 2007 the value of the pension plans was over $32 billion dollars with over 322,000 participants).
- Administering three major employee benefit programs, including the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System, the Deferred Compensation Program, and the Flexible Benefits Plan.
- Operating the Unclaimed Property, College Savings (Section 529 Plans), and Small and Minority-Owned Business programs.
- Overseeing the risk management program and handling and adjudicating all claims made against the State.
- Seats as an advisor on numerous state boards
David Lillard has served on the Shelby County Commission since 2002 and is the current Chairman. Mr. Lillard serves as Chairman of the Public Works Committee (Shelby County) and has also served as an Election Commissioner on the Shelby County Election Commission (April 1993 to January 2002), including service as the Secretary of the Election Commission. He also served as a public member of the Tennessee State Board of Accountancy (1995-1998), president of the University of Memphis National Law Alumni Association (1998 to 1999), and was on the Board of Directors of The University of Memphis Society. Mr. Lillard was Finance Chairman of the Race for the Cure of the Memphis-MidSouth Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (2000-2003).
He is a member of the law firm of Burch, Porter & Johnson, PLLC. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Memphis and is a graduate of the University of Memphis School of Law. He also received a Master of Laws in Taxation (LL.M. in Taxation) from the University of Florida.
In Mr. Lillard’s interview, he stated he has served on the Board of Trustees for the Shelby County Retirement System and on the system’s Investment Committee which determines the system’s investment. He stated before the market declined, the system held about $1 billion of assets. He spoke in detail of the actuarial issues that are used in funding the retirement system.
Per campaignmoney.com, Mr. Lillard has made several small political donations in the last election cycle to Senator Lamar Alexander Campaign ($500, on 9/23/08) and to the Tennessee Republican Party ($300, 3/26/07, and $200, 8/27/08).
Again (as they asked of the Comptroller applicant), the panel discussed that previous Constitutional Officers using their offices as a “bully pulpit” to advance certain issues (read income tax). Mr. Lillard stated that believed that policy should be made by the legislative body, and not the officers. He stated he would “simply respond to questions and lay out options” as opposed advocating for a particular legislative action.
Vance Cheek Jr. is a graduate Science Hill High School at the age of 15, East Tennessee State University at age 19, and the UT School of Law at 22. He passed the Bar Exam in 1990 when he was only 23. In 1994, he started his own law firm. In 1997 he was elected Vice Mayor fo Johnson City; he successfully ran for the office of Mayor in 1999. In 2001, he was appointed to be as a trial judge until 2004, when he decided to run in an unsuccessful attempt for Congress in 2006. In July 2001, he was appointed as the Commissioner of Claims for the East Grand Division of the State of Tennessee; that term expires in August 2009.
The State Board of Claims falls under the supervision of the Treasurer. As a Commissioner of Claims, Mr. Cheek works regularly with that small part of the treasurer’s office. Mr. Cheek stated he had some experience with pensions as Mayor of Johnson City. In the interview, Mr. Cheek stated he would “put together a fantastic staff”, implying that he may make some personnel changes in the Department of Treasury. But he also stated that he would not use the “preverbial light saber to cut jobs.”
The panel discussed that previous Constitutional Officers using their offices as a “bully pulpit” to advance certain issues. Mr. Cheek stated that it is not the Treasurer position to make public policy, that is the duty of the legislature. He would share ideas and opinion in support of the legislature.
Per campaignmoney.com, no political donations could be located for the last election cycle on behalf of Vance Cheek Jr.
D.W. “Bill” McGaughey (left) is from Memphis where he currently serves as the Executive Vice president for Community and Business Development at Trustmark National Bank. He has over 41 years of baking experience. He has served on the Germantown Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (2004-2006), Memphis Shelby County Health Ed Board (204-present, Memphis County Sports Authority as Chairman (2006-present), and numerous other boards and councils. He served as an Alderman for Germantown (1984-1992) as well as serving on the City of Germantown Retirement/Investment Committee.
Mr. McGaughey graduated from the University of Memphis with a degree in finance and the University of Wisconsin AIB School of Banking with an emphasis in Community Banking.
During the interview, Mr. McGaughey stated he applied for the position of Treasurer after being approached to do so by the Tennessee Bankers Association. He stated that the job duties of the Treasurer match his current job duties as a banker. The panel discussed that previous Constitutional Officers using their offices as a “bully pulpit” to advance certain issues. Mr. McGaughey stated elected officials set policy, and the staff takes the policy, sets a vision an utilizes it as intended by the legislature. He stated that the Treasurer’s job is to assist the legislature and not campiagn for specific policy. Mr. McGaughey stated that the primary function of the Treasurer is to maintain the “saftey and soundness of the assets” and that his extensive experience in the banking industry makes him qualified for this position.
Per campaignmoney.com, no political donations could be located for the last election cycle on behalf of D.W. “Bill” McGaughey.
Ira Brody is currently a partner and Chief Operations Officer and Chief Financial Officer (since 2004) of Inscap, LLC, an investment banking company. He was the state chairman of the Republican Party’s Victory 2008 campaign as well was a “First Day Founder for Senator Fred Thompson’s presidential bid.” He ran as a Republican for New York State Senate in 1996 and the Rutherford County Commission in 2006. He served as Executive Director of the New York Olympic Games Commission. He founded, with his wife a non-profit organization , Rutherford LEAP, which provides laptops to the 7th graders of Rutherford County. From 1995-1996, he served as the Assistant Secretary to the Governor of New York, as well as various other high level positions in New York state government.
The panel discussed that previous Constitutional Officers using their offices as a “bully pulpit” to advance certain issues. Mr. Davis stated that the opinion of the Treasurer is important but should not be making or adovcate non-Department of Treasury poliies. He stated that his woudl be to provide information for the legilsature to make the most informed decision possible.
Mr. Davis felt that his involvement in auditing the government and over 30 years of professional accounting experience would prove to be an invaluable resource fulfilling the job duties as Treasurer. As part of his auditing expereince has included auditing several small/mid sized pension plans for clients and has worked with actuaries.
Per campaignmoney.com, no political donations could be located for the last election cycle on behalf of Barry Davis.
Current Treasurer Dale Sims is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina. He received his Bachelors of Science Degree from Western Carolina University in 1978 and did graduate work in Public Administration at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. Mr. Sims’ public service career began in 1980 as a Program Auditor with the Comptroller of the Treasury where he also served as a Research Analyst for the Senate Finance, Ways, & Means Committee. In 1982 he began work with the Department of Treasury where he served as Staff Assistant to then Treasurer, Harlan Mathews. In 1987 Treasurer Steve Adams promoted him to Executive Assistant to the Treasurer. When Mr. Adams retired in October 2003, Governor Phil Bredesen appointed Mr. Sims as Acting Treasurer. On March 1, 2004, the 103rd General Assembly unanimously elected Mr. Sims to serve the remainder of Treasurer Adams’ term. Mr. Sims was re-elected in 2005 by the 104th General Assembly and in 2007 by the 105th General Assembly.
Per campaignmoney.com, no polictial donations could be located for the last election cycle on behalf of Dale Sims.
As with every article in this series, the content is intended as a brief overview of each candidate and the author encourages readers to educate themselves on the specifics provided. The author’s sources are noted below and are provided to allow the reader to further educate themselves on the issues discussed.