Former TBI agent and Franklin native was only female nominee considered for organization’s top job


Former TBI agent and Franklin native was only female nominee considered for organization’s top job

PHOTO: Marjorie Quin / Photo courtesy of Cumberland University

By BROOKE WANSER

In the hunt to replace the retiring Tennessee Bureau of Investigations director, nine nominees were interviewed Tuesday and cut to three finalists.

Of the nominees, Marjorie Quin, originally from Franklin, was the only female nominee. All previous eight directors have been male.

Current TBI Director Mark Gwyn recently announced he would retire in June after 14 years at the helm of the organization.

Quin is a Franklin High School graduate and TBI agent of 20 years. She has focused much of the past decade on the fight against human sexual trafficking.

But Quin’s responses to eight standard questions about current problems within the TBI raised eyebrows of commission members, all of whom were male.

In the public hearing, Quin listed poor judgment in budget-setting, “hard-to-defend” hirings, and a management system lacking oversight as TBI issues she wanted to work to improve.

She was chastised by commission member Jack Vaughn, a trial attorney from Kingsport, for her answers.

“You started out by saying there is a crisis at the TBI. You were working for the TBI for nine years?” Vaughn asked Quin.

“Twenty,” she said.

“Twenty years, and you didn’t do anything to correct the crisis. Yes or no?”

“I’m not sure I said it was a crisis,” Quin answered. “I think there are issues.”

“You said crisis… I wrote that down,” Vaughn said loudly.

“There are issues at the TBI that I think need to be addressed immediately,” Quin continued. “I did raise concerns at the time about some of the hiring decisions.”

Vaughn also said Quin came across as “somebody that rules by dictatorship.”

A recent News Channel 5 investigation revealed questionable hiring decisions within the TBI, including the hiring of Deputy Director Jason Locke’s son, Hunter Locke, before his graduation from college and with no law enforcement experience. Jason Locke is one of the final nominees.

Though Quin did not make the final cut, “I walked away being very grateful to participate in the selection process,” she said. “I think it was very rewarding as a woman in law enforcement to finally have a seat at that table.”

Quin retired from the TBI in January, and is currently the director of Cumberland University’s criminal justice and public administration program. She said she was excited to revamp the curriculum to help enable Tennessee’s youth join the law enforcement profession.

The five-member nominating commission is chaired by Jerry Estes, the executive director of the Tennessee District Attorneys Conference. It is also comprised of two House Speaker appointees and two Lt. Governor appointees.

The final nominees, whose names have been sent to Gov. Bill Haslam for final decision, are:

  • Former Bradley County Sheriff Tim Gobble
  • TBI Deputy Director Jason Locke
  • Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch

Jennifer Donnels, the governor’s press secretary, said, “Appointing the next TBI Director is a significant decision, and the governor plans to thoroughly consider the three finalists selected by the nominating commission before making the decision in the coming month or so.”

About The Author

Brooke Wanser is the associate editor for the Franklin Home Page, and can be reached at brooke.wanser@homepagemediagroup.com. Follow her on Twitter at @BWanser_writes or @FranklinHomepg.

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