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DAY THIRTY-EIGHT: Bredesen passes pork to friends.

Tennessee Governor bypasses state process to fund TennCare study, but will not let food and water into the capitol.

State Police block citizens from their governor. Photo by Nashville Peace and Justice.(NASHVILLE, July 27, 2005) The Tennessean reports today “the $2.6 million consultant study that guides Gov. Phil Bredesen's TennCare policy was commissioned to avoid state government contracting laws.” The governor worked to avoid public scrutiny of the system and awarded J.D. Hickey, a former consultant with McKinsey & Co., the head of the state TennCare program.

"It's just like with the disenrolling people from TennCare," Rep. Joey Hensley, said. "Once he made up his mind, no other alternatives, no other options were considered."

“This is a crisis to great not to jump into and get involved,” said Herman Lawson today from outside the governor’s office. “There are so many management tools that have not been used that will save the program and the lack of a democratic forum to discuss those management tools is why I am here.” 

While the governor is attempting to create an ethics committee to make state government more open and responsible, Bredesen has avoided public examination and ignored options and suggestions from others. His insistence on closed-door meetings has kept protestors at his office for 38 days now. He will not allow public inspection of his TennCare decisions and disregards proven cost-saving proposals that have worked in other US states to push his own untried policies.

Demonstrators outside the governor's office. Photo by Nashville Peace and Justice."The governor wanted to know how to get this done by McKinsey without competitively procuring it," said Leo Sullivan, former pharmacy director for TennCare as part of his testimony in the Grier case two weeks ago.

While the governor believes it is okay for him to go around state law to get his way, he will not allow food and water to protestors outside his office. Gwendolyn Davis the state Commissioner of the Department of General Services played the role of George Wallace standing in the door to confront Reverend Dwight Montgomery when he attempted to take water to the demonstrators.

“As an official of the state of Tennessee, I have the responsibility to enforce the laws regarding the serving and delivering of food inside the Capitol,” said Davis. 

“It is wrong. It is inhumane. It is cruel. It is unacceptable,” said Montgomery, the leader of the Memphis chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Davis has obviously come to this higher calling in her state job since Bredesen walked through the same door to deliver hamburgers to the demonstrators. 

-Tim Wheat

MCIL Journal Index 2005

Follow the TennCare Sit-in

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