Since voters elected Bill Lee governor on Nov. 6, Tennessee state government has hired roughly 1,800 employees costing taxpayers $65 million, according to a USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee analysis of state payroll records.
The analysis found that among the new hires are several former Lee campaign workers, the nephew of a key campaign staffer, a former state lawmaker, a former lobbyist for the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity and an unsuccessful candidate to be Williamson County’s recorder of deeds.
The analysis further found 39 people hired between the November election and March 3 earn more than $100,000.
Those making six figures or more include the governor, his commissioners and cabinet-level staff, two former campaign employees and a physician-psychiatrist making nearly $235,000.
Unlike his most recent predecessors, Lee is set to receive $194,112 salary. Former Govs. Bill Haslam and Phil Bredesen declined to take a salary.