This story was updated Feb. 14, 2019, at 4:17 p.m. with more information.
NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Parks and Conservation, Brock Hill,
is out of a job after being dismissed following an investigation into complaints of "workplace misconduct."
TDEC confirmed the dismissal after a report by WSMV-TV in Nashville, which posted the letter sent by the agency's new commissioner, David W. Salyers, to staffers last week.
In it, Salyers, recently appointed to the post by Gov. Bill Lee, said he "separated former Deputy Commissioner Brock Hill from state service after the investigation.
Salyers said Anne Marshall has agreed to serve as interim deputy commissioner of Parks and Conservation.
The commissioner went on to say "that TDEC leadership must always set the tone for a safe, positive, professional, and respectful work environment. Thank you for the work you do each day to preserve and protect our natural, cultural, and scenic areas while maintaining a safe and enjoyable workspace where people can thrive."
Efforts to obtain more details about Brock's alleged "misconduct" were unsuccessful Thursday. In an email to the Times Free Press, TDEC spokesman Eric Ward stated, "there are no public records available at this time specific to the claims or investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct against Mr. Hill."
A political appointee under the previous Haslam administration, Hill became deputy commissioner in 2011, overseeing Tennessee's 56 state parks and 85 state natural areas.
Hill, a Cumberland County native, previously served as county mayor for 16 years and had run a small, family owned business.
As deputy commissioner, Hill and top officials pushed a controversial plan to outsource hospitality functions, including lodging, at Tennessee's premiere state parks.
Fall Creek Falls State Park on the Upper Cumberland Plateau near Spencer was among them. Employees there protested, but the Haslam administration continued to push the issue until would-be vendors showed no interest in bidding, citing the parks' shabby condition.
That resulted eventually in the state last year tearing down existing inns at Fall Creek Falls and Paris Landing State Park with plans approved to build new ones. But a number of workers in the small rural communities were laid off in the interim. It's not clear how many found other state jobs.
In Paris, the closure boiled over into the re-election campaign of Rep. Tim Wirgau, R-Buchanan, who favored the project, saying the old inn had outlived its usefulness. Paris attorney Bruce Griffey parlayed opposition to tearing down the inn to defeat Wirgau in the Republican August primary.
Contact staff writer Andy Sher email@example.com or 615-255-0550. Follow on Twitter @AndySher1.