Gov. Bill Haslam defends pick of Tim Gobble to fill vacancy on parole board

Authored By james.harrison

One day after appointing Tim Gobble, a recently ousted city manager of East Ridge, to fill a vacancy on the state Board of Parole, Gov. Bill Haslam said he picked Gobble because of his “good background” working at a variety of positions in the public sector throughout the years. 

“For our parole board, we’re trying to get people across the state who represent various backgrounds, and we thought his background and experience could be helpful,” Haslam said. 

Gobble, who was interim deputy chief of the Hamilton County Jail before being selected by the governor, will serve as part of a seven-member body that has the authority to parole eligible offenders who have served a certain percentage of their sentences. The parole board can also revoke parole privileges if offenders do not comply with rules laid out in their releases. 

The position on the board will be Gobble’s third this year. In February, he accepted a severance deal from East Ridge, which included $79,000 in base salary payments and full health insurance through September. Gobble resigned amid controversy, including complaints over his hiring of a 19-year-old friend as the city’s communications manager; discipline of City Court clerks on a case that involved his daughter; management of East Ridge’s social media accounts; and the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for personal expenses, such as dining out. 

In the past, Gobble has also served as a Bradley County sheriff, U.S. Secret Service agent and director of emergency management for both Cleveland and Bradley County. In 2010, he also unsuccessfully ran in the Republican primary for the 3rd Congressional District. 

Asked how he reconciled his pick with Gobble’s recent experience in East Ridge, Haslam declined to comment on the issue and instead focused on his other roles in public life. 

“I mean, I can’t really speak for both sides of that issue,” Haslam said. “But I think from what I’ve seen of Tim, both as Bradley County sheriff, his time in Hamilton County and his federal government Secret Service work, I think he can add to the program.”

Gobble’s term will begin later this month and expire in 2015. He will be paid $93,000.