NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Who will be Tennessee's next top cop?
Tuesday, a nominating commission interviewed nine finalists to be the next director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and, at the end of a long day, sent the names of three men to Gov. Bill Haslam.
The nominees are:
- Former Bradley County Sheriff Tim Gobble.
- TBI deputy director Jason Locke
- Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch.
But the most dramatic story of the day involved someone who didn't make the cut.
Retired TBI special agent Marjorie Quin was the one woman among the nine finalists.
But she drew a stern lecture when she began her interview by suggesting the TBI had some major problems that needed to be fixed.
"Poor judgment in setting budget priorities, hard-to-defend hiring decisions and a management culture resistant to oversight and accountability," Quin said, listing the issues that Tennessee's top law enforcement agency has faced.
Quin, who has drawn praise for her work in the fight against human trafficking, made the pitch to the five, all-male nominating commission that she knew where the problems were and, as a result, knew how to fix them.
In recent months, the TBI has faced questions about budget overruns.
And our NewsChannel 5 investigation has raised questions about nepotism in the TBI's hiring of special agents.
But Kingsport attorney Jack Vaughn lashed out at Quin, accusing her of acting like a dictator and blasting her for focusing on the fellow TBI officials, instead of the "bad guys."
"You started out by saying there is a crisis at the TBI. You were working for the TBI for nine years?" Vaughn asked Quin.
She answered, "20."
"Twenty years, and you didn't do anything to correct the crisis. Yes or no?"
"I'm not sure I said it was a crisis," Quin answered. "I think there are issues."
"You said crisis -- I wrote that down," Vaughn insisted, raising his voice.
"There are issues at the TBI that I think need to be addressed immediately," Quin continued. "I did raise concerns at the time about some of the hiring decisions."
Vaughn lectured Quin, "TBI has been on the right track. If you can't recognize that, I'm concerned about that."
One of her supporters, Cheatham County Sheriff Mike Breedlove, said it seemed like a #metoo moment.
"It really hit me that I must know how it feels not to be on a level playing field and to be humiliated," the retired TBI agent said.
"I would have felt humiliated because I've never heard her speak the words that were spoken to us today. It was just disappointing."
Wow! After berating Quin, Vaughn asks Reinhold: “This is a very important question to me: You haven’t arrested any UT football players, have you?” Prompts laughs throughout room.— Phil Williams (@NC5PhilWilliams) May 15, 2018
Vaughn’s hard-hitting question for Wright: “Do you remember giving me a ticket?”— Phil Williams (@NC5PhilWilliams) May 15, 2018
Jack Vaughn praises Locke for his "commendable" 21 years with the bureau; earlier, he chastised Margie Quin for not fixing the bureau's problems in her 20 years.— Phil Williams (@NC5PhilWilliams) May 15, 2018
"With all this work, you still had time to get married and have children - I'm proud of you," Jack Vaughn to Locke.— Phil Williams (@NC5PhilWilliams) May 15, 2018
Another supporter, Derri Smith of End Slavery Tennessee, mourned the missed opportunity to nominated a qualified woman to be the TBI's first female director.
"I feel like today I walked back into the 18th century," Smith said.
Of the three finalists, Gobble has faced lots of controversy in his career, but he wasn't asked about any of those allegations.
Rausch was accused of tipping off UT's football coach when players were under investigation, but he wasn't asked about that controversy
Locke, however, wasn't asked about that issue, either.
As for Margie Quin's treatment, commissioner Jack Vaughn insisted at the end of the meeting that he did not believe he treated anyone differently from the rest.