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The pandemic led Tennessee to issue large, no-bid contracts, but some Tennessee lawmakers want more

Stephen Jerkins
Chattanooga Sen. Todd Gardenhire wants to rein in Gov. Bill Lee's power to enter into contracts without state lawmakers' supervision.

State lawmakers want to rein in the governors’ power to enter into contracts without their supervision. They’re concerned about multi-million-dollar contracts awarded during the COVID state of emergency and a consulting deal signed by the governor.

The governor used the rule during his first year to hire McKinsey & Company for more than $4 million. Their job was to study the state government and see where costs could be cut. The report from the company hasn’t been made public. 

Sen. Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga), the chairman of the state fiscal review committee, wants to stop that. 

“The governor can issue a contract, and as long as it’s under one year, there’s no limit on the amount of money that can be done,” Gardenhire said. “It doesn’t come through this committee, and we don’t get to see the end product of that contract.”

Gardenhire says he’s also worried that the Tennessee Department of Health has given $75 million to a Hendersonville company to conduct COVID-19 contact tracing. 

He wants state lawmakers to discuss changes to the policy between now and early next year. 

Blaise Gainey is a Political Reporter for WPLN News. He is the youngest of three siblings, husband and father of two. He previously held the State Government Reporter position for WFSU News in Tallahassee. He is from Apopka, Fla., and graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He previously worked for The Florida Channel and WTXL-TV. He is excited to move to another capital and report on state government. In his spare time, he enjoys watching sports, outdoor activities and enjoying family time.
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