There has been a good deal of discussion around town about the future of out-going County Mayor Mike Ragsdale, who ends his troubled tenure next month. We understand Ragsdale and Chief of Staff Mike Arms may be starting a "public strategies" firm—i.e. lobbying and public relations.
That may explain the recent Ragsdale letter "endorsing" state Rep. Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville, as the next speaker of the House. Brooks is one of a half dozen House members looking to win the votes of fellow Republican caucus members and become speaker if the Republicans retain control of the House after the November election. It would be helpful for a new lobbying firm to be tight with the speaker of the House.
Arms, long an employee of DOE contractor SAIC in Oak Ridge, may also have his eye on lobbying business from DOE contractors.
Ragsdale came into the mayor's office with a long-range plan to run for governor, but financial irregularities, negative audits, and investigations marred his administration—and city Mayor Bill Haslam wound up as the gubernatorial candidate.