Haslam names Phillips new head of Labor and Workforce Development

Haslam names Phillips new head of Labor and Workforce Development

June 12th, 2013 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

Gov. Bill Haslam

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Gov. Bill Haslam today announced he has named Burns Phillips as the new commissioner of the troubled Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Phillips has been serving as acting commissioner after the abrupt departure of then-chief Karla Davis shortly before an audit critical of the department's operations was released.

Haslam said in a news release that Burns has "both public and private sector experience and has served in multiple departments at the state level, and I appreciate his willingness to continue serving at Labor and Workforce Development."

On Tuesday, Phillips won praise from members of the Legislature's Fiscal Review Committee as he gave a departmental review.

"It sounds like things are moving in the right direction," Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, the panel's chairman, told Phillips.

Phillips, 64, once worked in the state's budget office early in his career before going to work in the private sector where in 1991 he founded a surgical instrument company that operates in the U.S. and 30 other countries.