Gov. Haslam Says State Office Overhaul Is Moving Ahead, Despite New Leadership

Governor Bill Haslam says Tennessee will press on with an overhaul of state office buildings, despite a change in leadership at the agency that will carry it out.

About a thousand people work in the Cordell Hull building. Decommissioning and demolition is expected to begin in February and run through June. Credit: Nina Cardona/WPLN

About a thousand people work in the Cordell Hull Building. Image: Nina Cardona/WPLN

Steve Cates will step down as Commissioner of General Services on August 20. He helped develop a massive overhaul of state offices. It includes awarding a $38 million contract to a company, in which Governor Haslam invested.

Despite some concerns about the plan, the Governor says the state is moving ahead. “I think we all feel like this is right step forward for the state and we’ve made some hard choices, we’ve crossed some bridges and I think we’re showing really good results,” the Governor said in an interview last week.

One part of the reorganization is on hold: tearing down the 60 year old Cordell Hull Office Building in Downtown Nashville. The General Services Department says they’ll have someone take a second look at the planned demolition, after an outcry from historic preservationists. A spokeswoman says the agency hasn’t decided who will carry out that review.

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