Vote Republican, Get Fired: So Sayeth “The Law!”

February 8th, 2006 at 8:29 am by Sam
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Former Tennessee Highway Patrol Lieutenant C. B. Farmer’s story, alleging that he was fired in 2004 due to his family supporting Republican candidates, has finally hit the spotlight.

“The gist of my story was I was run out of the highway patrol,” former THP Lt. Charles B. Farmer said.

Appearing with his lawyer, Farmer presented supporting documents to the committee which is investigating claims of cronyism in the department. Among them were contribution disclosures showing how much Farmer’s wife and father-in-law had donated to Republican candidates in the 2002 statewide election.

State Sen. Jamie Woodson, R-Knoxville, asked Farmer about a transcript of a recorded conversation the former trooper had with a superior. According to the transcript, Farmer allegedly asked the superior if Farmer should have given $1,000 to a Democrat.

“Maybe you should have,” Woodson read from the transcript.

“Obviously, this conversation is disturbing to me. This is infuriating,” the senator said.

Farmer told the committee he had never received a low score on any of his performance evaluations in 20 years, but in 2003 the same superior officer who he alleges berated him for his political contributions gave him a low score.

Prior to his termination, he was assigned permanently to the midnight shift, Farmer told the committee.

“It was harassment,” said Farmer’s attorney, Arthur Knight of Knoxville.

Farmer, now working for a Knoxville mortgage company, said his dismissal from the THP was a blow that has left him teetering on bankruptcy and has weakened his marriage. He said the state must find a way to remove politics from trooper selections and promotions.

This is after repeated uproar within the THP over the last few months, as Governor Phil Bredesen crusades to end cronyism and corruption within this, and many other, departments of the state government. In recent month all over Tennessee, Police Departments have felt the sharp slap of the upper hand, with many long-time public figures being precipitately replaced.

From the Tennesseean:

Two-thirds of Tennessee Highway Patrol officers tapped for promotion under Gov. Phil Bredesen gave money to his campaign or had family or political patrons who did, a Tennessean investigation has found.

Among those with such connections, more than half were promoted over troopers who scored better on impartial exams or rankings, according to an analysis by the newspaper of three years of the patrol’s promotions and proposed promotions.

Of course, with Governor Bredesen being a Democrat, and his new regime inside the THP having a habit of giving people poor evaluations for being Republicans, it certainly seems to throw a few rocks at the glass house of “ethical government,” doesn’t it?


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