by Phil Williams
Chief Investigative Reporter
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A NewsChannel 5 hidden-camera investigation discovered Tennessee state troopers being used as chauffeurs for their boss, Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons.
That investigation now has one critic asking whether taxpayers are being taken for a ride.
But state officials are making no apologies for how they've spent your money. WHY WOULD THEY, THEY ARE THE RULING CLASS and do not have to live like the country class...
"Commissioner Gibbons' time is as valuable as anyone in the Department of Safety and Homeland Security," said Col. Tracy Trott, head of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. What does that have to do with the limousine life style you get to lead at the behest of taxpayers? But by all means, thank you Tracy for pointing out how valuable Gibbons time is? Wanna take a poll on how valuable taxpayers think their confiscated taxes are?
Picked for the job more than three years ago, Gibbons -- a former Shelby County DA -- decided to commute between his home in Memphis and his office in Nashville, sometimes using those sworn law enforcement officers as chauffeurs.
"Sometimes, if I have a lot of work to do, emails to answer and so on, then we do that," the commissioner told NewsChannel 5 Investigates a few weeks ago. OHHHH I get it, you need a chauffeur so you can answer your emails. Where can I go to get that deal? I got some emails to answer too!
Our cameras had first caught him leaving the Tennessee Tower state office building late on a Friday afternoon in January.
Behind the wheel of the commissioner's own state-issued SUV: a state trooper, with Gibbons in the passenger seat. Not only do you get your own state-issued SUV, you get a state trooper to drive it for you, you know, so you can answer some emails...but wait, there's more
But it wasn't just one trooper.
A second SUV followed with a second state trooper.
NewsChannel 5 followed them for almost two hours down I-40 -- to a convenience store at Exit 108.
After a quick restroom break, Gibbons got behind the wheel of his own vehicle, leaving the second SUV to take the commissioner's driver back to Nashville. OMG!!! Really??? Where's my duct tape, let's continue...
"I will have troopers get me to Exit 108, then I drive from there to Memphis," he acknowledged. "I don't do it that often, but when it's helpful for me to get work done, then yes I do it." Because I'm me and everybody wants to be me!
We pulled the paperwork, and email after email showed where the boss asked the THP if he could get "some transportation help." This reminds me of John Kerry's "Can I get me a hunting license here?"
"So that would not be proper in your mind?"
"That would not be appropriate." A very appropriate answer I might add...
Democratic Rep. Mike Stewart of Nashville questioned whether the troopers are really serving the public when they're serving the commissioner.
"I don't know what makes this particular person so special that he deserves all this additional treatment," he said. Awwww, we love your calling out of this particular case of abuse of power, but come on, you all get this treament, Republican or Democrat, we get it, it's an "elite" thing.....
"These are not chauffeurs that, presumably, could be hired for this purpose. These are highly trained professionals who we spend a lot of money on, who have a lot of skills. We need to have them out in our neighborhoods stopping crime." Crime, what crime? You mean the Civil Assett Forfeiture crimes committed by the THP? NO, that's another story for another post, moving on....
NewsChannel 5 asked Col. Trott, "Can you honestly say this is the best use of state troopers' time?"
"Well, I'm responsible for all highway patrol operations," he responded.You know like Civil Assett Forfeiture operations.... "If I didn't think it was a good usage of our time and resources, I would tell Bill Gibbons and he would stop. I don't feel that way, Phil." And I don't feel that way Phil because I am in the ruling class and you are not...sucks to be you doesn't it?
In fact, THP officials concede the troopers' trips to the 108 -- to get the commissioner halfway home -- have continued even after we began asking questions.
"It's a great usage of our resources, and I wouldn't change a thing -- and I don't plan on changing a thing," Trott concluded. Famous last words Bubba, moving on...the light of day has a way of changing plans....
Our investigation also discovered a handful of trips where the commissioner flew to and from Memphis on THP helicopters. A spokesperson said those were business - except for three flights to help him to be able to carry on state business when his wife was in the hospital. HELICOPTERS??? REALLY??? It's just business, you know the drug cartels think it's just business too...
So how much do all these road trips cost taxpayers?
The colonel said that they've never sat down and figured it up because they simply view it as a cost of doing business. They have never sat down and figured out how much money it costs because it's NOT THEIR MONEY! Like a child whose changing habits will do a 180 in half a second if they have to spend their own money.
Thank you Phil Williams for your excellent investigation and Newschannel5.com for getting the story out.
King George had nothin on these guys...you are a freaking public servant, not royalty, ACT LIKE IT!