A New Tennessee Bill Explains That There Will Be A Single Un-elected Bureaucrat That Will Oversee Millions Of Dollars In Projects And Property Owned By The State As Well As Make Decisions On The Spending Of Multi-Millions Of Taxpayer Dollars, A Responsibility Currently Held By A Commission With Elected Members.
The Tennessee Conservative [By Kelly M. Jackson] –
This week in the Tennessee General Assembly an inconspicuous bill received a co-sponsor and was filed in the State Senate.
The language of the bill explains that there will be a commissioner that will oversee millions of dollars in projects and property owned by the state as well as make decisions on the spending of millions and millions of taxpayer dollars.
The language is so banal, very much more of it could possibly cause one’s eyes to glaze over with disinterest.
Perhaps, that is the point.
The legislation is House Bill 1889 (HB1889), sponsored by Representative William Lamberth (R-Portland-District 44), and Senate Bill 2102 (SB2102), Sponsored by Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin-District 27). It reads as follows:
“General Services, Dept. of – As introduced, authorizes the commissioner to perform certain activities related to management of real property owned by this state; increases the cost threshold for major maintenance contracts for state departments, colleges of applied technology, and public two-year institutions of higher learning above which the state building commission must approve and supervise the contract. – Amends TCA Title 4.”
The issue is that the current law grants all of the authority of these things to what is currently known as the State Building Commission.
According to this website, “The State Building Commission (SBC) was created by the Legislature in 1955 (TCA 4-15-101) to oversee construction of all State public buildings. The SBC´s responsibility has been expanded to include authority over most acquisition, disposal, improvement or demolition of real property owned by the State with the exclusion of roads, highways and bridges. In addition, its authority extends to the leasing of real property as well as disposal by lease of State property.”
Those who currently make up the commission include several elected officials, which would mean that the people’s interests and tax dollars are being directed by those who the people chose to represent them in government-related decisions.
The bill in question would consolidate that power and hand it over to a single individual who is nestled within the governor’s administration – one unelected bureaucrat with all that decision-making power, with little to no oversight that the commission must endure in its current state.
The bill does have a name, which infers what the creators have tried to convey is the intent of the bill at its core.
It’s called the STREAM Act, which is short for State of Tennessee Real Estate Asset Management, and according to reports, “under this bill the commissioner of General Services would take over “decision-making responsibility” for all executive branch leases, acquisitions and disposals of real property in addition to approving construction projects and methods that normally go to the Building Commission for final approval.”
These same reports indicate that the building commission is managing some large projects with some hefty price tags.
This past week alone, approval was given for the following projects: early design for a $200 million health department lab, revisions to a $5.1 million contract to replace a bridge and upgrade trails at Fort Pillow State Historic Park, $6.9 million to replace water lines at Norris Dam State Park, and $1.2 million to upgrade the Tennessee Highway Patrol Training Center in Nashville.
In addition to handling all of the above, the Commissioner of the Department of General Services is actively engaged in the development of the over 400-million-dollar law enforcement training center where reports indicate that there will be 20 contractors hired to complete the building.
Where there is little doubt that these projects might be of great benefit to the citizens of Tennessee, those same citizens may not find that one unelected bureaucrat should be handed the ability to make decisions on their behalf with their hard-earned tax dollars.
We will follow the progress of the bill and report on its developments as it makes its way through the legislative process.
About the Author: Kelly Jackson is a recent escapee from corporate America, and a California refugee to Tennessee. Christ follower, Wife and Mom of three amazing teenagers. She has a BA in Comm from Point Loma Nazarene University, and has a background in law enforcement and human resources. Since the summer of 2020, she has spent any and all free time in the trenches with local grassroots orgs, including Mom’s for Liberty Williamson County and Tennessee Stands as a core member. Outspoken advocate for parents rights, medical freedom, and individual liberty. Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.