In a surprise move, William Brown has been removed from the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission, although there were two years remaining on his six-year term.
The TFWC is the governing body over the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Just recently, Brown was honored for his two years of service as chairman of that body.
After a heated and controversial two-year political battle, which many think led to the defeat of Rep. Jim Cobb, legislation that basically recreated the TFWC from its predecessor last summer was enacted. Some commissioners got the boot from the political fallout when reappointments were made at that time.
However, Brown was reappointed by the governor's office—but those appointments had to be confirmed by the House and Senate.
Last week, newly elected Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R-Hamilton and Bradley counties) single-handedly had Brown removed from consideration.
Monday, Gardenhire said, "It's a done deal. His confirmation went back to committee, and there was no action," which means Brown is off the TFWC and that it will be up to Gov. Bill Haslam to make another appointment.
Asked why he had Brown removed, Gardenhire said, "A lot of senators called me and, for a variety of reasons, asked me to do it."
Asked what those reasons were, Gardenhire refused to say.
"I wasn't given permission to give those reasons out," he said. "If [Brown] wants to talk to the senators and ask why, that's his prerogative."
At this time, Brown has not returned calls from Nooga.com for comment.
Gardenhire said he is not promoting anybody for the appointment. He said that decision will be up to the governor's office.
The issue is clearly a fallout from the previous political battles regarding TWRA. However, even during that ongoing struggle, politicians notoriously kept quiet about their specific concerns with TWRA or its governing body.
For more than two years now, Tennessee hunters and fishermen have been pawns in a dramatic political chess game. I hope this is the final move in what appears to me to be a stupid, silly exercise of one-upmanship. And I also hope our state's wildlife professionals can get back to dealing with what we hired them to do—caring for our state's wildlife, fish and other natural resources, without politicians sticking their noses where they don't belong.
But I doubt it.