In This Issue

Excellence in Risk Management Award Winners

Grant and Scholarship Update

Motor Vehicle Records Checks

Tennessee Trivia

Q. According to TVA, how many kilowatt-hours of electricity were supplied to households and commercial/industrial customers through local power companies in Fiscal Year 2017?

Click here for the answer

Message from the President

Dawn Crawford

We would like to thank all who attended Public Entity Partners’s third annual Risk & Insurance Symposium. We had record attendance, with many member departments represented. Those in attendance included attorneys, administrative assistants, city administrators / managers, city clerks / recorders, directors / executive directors, elected officials, finance, fire, human resources, insurance agents, law enforcement, personnel, public works, purchasing, risk and safety managers, and treasurers.

We would also like to thank our speakers, who took time to prepare and present at the symposium. We had a wide variety of topics that included Contractual Liability for Government Entities; Distracted Driving; Drug-Free Workplace Training; Family Impact of Work Injuries; Managing the Media after a Mass Casualty Crisis – The Sandy Hook Tragedy; Municipal Courts and Suspension of Driver's Licenses for Failure to Pay Traffic Debt; Municipal Use of UAVs / Drones for Risk Mitigation; Open Meetings; Opioid Use in Tennessee; Police Liability Under Federal and State Law; Riots, Protests and Public Gatherings; Setting Up Road Courses and Driver Training; The Evolution of Workplace Discrimination; The Intersection of the First and Fourth Amendments; The Outward Mindset; Transporting Medically Fragile Passengers; and Workers’ Compensation.

Six Excellence in Risk Management Awards were presented at the awards luncheon to recognize the good works of members. Please read more about the award winners in this newsletter.

The interaction and response from those who attended the symposium is a testament to the dedication and hard work local government employees invest in their entities. In addition to the structured learning opportunities, there were numerous occasions for networking.

From all of us at Public Entity Partners, thank you to those who attended this year’s symposium. For those who were not able to participate, we look forward to seeing you at next year’s event, which will be held Aug. 21 - 23, 2019!

Best Regards,

Dawn Crawford signature
Dawn R. Crawford


Excellence in Risk Management Award Winners

One of the highlights of the year for Public Entity Partners is the opportunity to recognize and honor excellence in risk management during our annual Risk & Insurance Symposium. The award winners display creativity as well as a focus on keeping employees safe, while also safeguarding public resources. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to risk management.

In the past, we have recognized departments and individuals with risk management responsibilities. These award winners have ranged from large cities to small towns, and from human resource authorities to agencies. In addition, past award winners have faced a wide variety of risk exposures. The challenge of risk management is that each entity is different and, therefore, must be creative and proactive in addressing their specific exposures.

The winners of the 2018 Excellence in Risk Management Awards are featured below. It is an honor for Public Entity Partners to be able to recognize our members and their excellence in risk management.

Chief Steve Isbell – Dyersburg Police Department

Chief Steve Isbell has worked for the Dyersburg Police Department for more than 25 years and has risen through the ranks to become the department’s chief. He has recognized the importance of professionalism in law enforcement and worked diligently with his department to become recertified by CALEA, the national law enforcement accreditation agency, as well as to maintain the agency’s Tennessee Law Enforcement Accreditation for the third year.

For entities with police departments, law enforcement liability is a high-risk area. Instituting policies and procedures to reduce the likelihood of costly litigation is key for law enforcement and risk management. Public Entity Partners has long recognized the value of CALEA, and has also worked hand-in-hand with the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police to support the state accreditation program.

Chief Isbell continuously monitors liabilities and loss trends to better identify training and policies that provide the highest standards of services to the community. He also implemented Core Principles, Diversity Training and a “guardian mindset” prior to them being recognized as national standards.

He has diligently worked to foster a forward-thinking department, thus improving standards and reducing liability exposures for Dyersburg’s officers. In addition, he has worked to implement community meetings to keep residents informed and foster a community spirit that contributes to safe neighborhoods. He lives by the motto: “We exist to serve the community.”

Pictured from left are Paul Chambliss, West Tennessee casualty loss control consultant with Public Entity Partners; Chief Steve Isbell of the Dyersburg Police Department; Celeste Taylor, West Tennessee member services representative with Public Entity Partners; and Andy Lacewell, West Tennessee property loss control consultant with Public Entity Partners.


Forestine Carroll – Memphis Housing Authority

When Forestine Carroll accepted her current position of risk manager with the Memphis Housing Authority, her entity had a long history of frequent and severe loss numbers. Her “can-do” attitude was perfect for this position and she worked to bring employee training to an all-time high. She accomplished this by utilizing Public Entity Partners’s training staff, videos and on-site surveys, and by always looking for additional resources wherever she could find them.

Under Ms. Carroll’s guidance, this agency implemented a functioning safety committee that still meets on a regular basis. From her work, this agency is not adverse in any lines of coverage they have with Public Entity Partners, and the frequency of their losses is slim to none. She accomplished much of this while under severe budget cuts, which took hard work, perseverance, and a commitment to protecting the safety of her coworkers and the public resources entrusted to the Memphis Housing Authority.

In addition, Ms. Carroll has devoted a significant amount of energy to promoting public risk management in Tennessee. She has accomplished this by serving in leadership roles at the Tennessee Public Risk Management Association (TnPRIMA) and serving on the national PRIMA board.

Pictured from left are Forestine Carroll, risk manager with the Memphis Housing Authority, and Celeste Taylor, West Tennessee member services representative with Public Entity Partners.


Tina Sowell – City of Lawrenceburg

Tina Sowell serves as safety director for her entity, and has grown the safety and risk management program through dedication and diligence.

Through her daily duties, Ms. Sowell conducts regular property and building inspections and makes loss control recommendation to directors. She conducts quarterly incident/accident review meetings, works to determine the root causes, and reviews all “near misses.” She also conducts monthly safety meetings with department heads and the city administrator, and serves as the liaison between citizens and the city regarding safety concerns.

Ms. Sowell also serves as the city’s ADA coordinator and is a certified playground safety inspector. She conducts regular employee training for health, safety and accident prevention, and coordinates the city’s Drug Free Workplace Program. Thanks to her encouragement, this entity is the most prolific user of Public Entity Partners’s Local Government Risk Academy online training program that is offered to PE Partner members.

Ms Sowell is also the administrative assistant to the public works director, and is responsible for tracking the departmental budget, State Street Aid, accounts receivable, correspondence, payroll, grants and more.

Ms. Sowell has taken the responsibilities assigned to her and flourished as she works to bolster, improve and create new initiatives to keep the employees of the city safe, safeguard public resources, and reduce the likelihood that the city will be sued. She has also received a host of certifications as she has worked to educate herself in the various areas in which she has responsibilities.

She also understands how to handle sensitive matters with compassion and empathy. Her team faced a heart-wrenching line-of-duty death last year, to which everyone at the city worked to respond with professionalism and sympathy.

Pictured from left are Bob Lynch, Middle Tennessee property conservation consultant with Public Entity Partners; Tina Sowell, safety director for the City of Lawrenceburg; Chester Darden, Middle Tennessee casualty loss control consultant with Public Entity Partners; and Callie Westerfield, director of member services with Public Entity Partners.


JamiAnn Hannah – City of Gallatin

JamiAnn Hannah, risk manager for the City of Gallatin, serves an entity with nearly 450 full-time positions and more than 100 part-time/seasonal employees. In her role, she maintains detailed records for city assets and educates department heads on the proper choices for self-insuring various items.

Ms. Hannah helps identify the risk exposures of the city’s assets, and then recommends the best methods to control those exposures. She monitors work environments and the use of equipment to ensure employee safety. In addition, she observes workers to determine optimal use of prescribed safety equipment and adherence to established safety procedures. She is also the city’s “boots on the ground” as she assists departments in conducting inspections of equipment, working conditions in buildings, and job sites for compliance with OSHA regulations.

Ms. Hannah serves as the city’s main point of contact for all claims and coordinates them with the city attorney. She investigates both injury and property incidents to ascertain causes, prepares reports of findings with recommendations for corrective action, and sets time limits for which locations should comply with recommendations.

In addition to serving as ADA coordinator, she provides safety training for all departments and chairs the city safety committee. She has also served on the Tennessee Public Risk Management Association (TnPRIMA) board for several years.

Pictured from left are Chester Darden, Middle Tennessee casualty loss control consultant with Public Entity Partners; JamiAnn Hannah, risk manager for the City of Gallatin; Callie Westerfield, director of member services with Public Entity Partners; and Bob Lynch, Middle Tennessee property conservation consultant with Public Entity Partners.


Chief Phil Fritts – Town of Jonesborough

Phil Fritts, fire chief for the Town of Jonesborough, has been working to address the town’s risk management for nearly a decade. In 2009, he was assigned the duties of loss prevention officer. He immediately began attending OSHA classes in order to become more proficient at his new duties, along with working closely with Public Entity Partners’s Loss Control Department.

He has worked to put together a water/sewer task force that reviews any claims dealing with water and/or sewer issues. He has also worked with the directors of these departments to increase safety and ensure proper reporting of incidents and claims.

In addition to water and sewer, he has worked closely with all department heads to help increase awareness of the importance of proper and detailed accident/incident reporting. He provides training for them on this topic and works to help them through the reporting process.

Chief Fritts has formed an ADA committee within his organization and has written an ADA policy for the town. He has also begun a review of all of the town’s properties and programs, including the town’s transition plan, to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

He has worked tirelessly to schedule safety sensitive training for various departments. This includes work zone safety, flagging, confined space and lockout/tag out, to name a few. He continues to ensure that MSDS sheets are in place and kept up-to-date at the town’s different facilities.

In July of this year, Jonesborough’s board of mayor and aldermen, along with the town attorney, recognized the reduction of claims and lawsuits from the town’s water park over the past several years. These types of facilities can be difficult in regard to accidents and safe handling of materials, such as chlorine. Chief Fritts works closely with the water park director to ensure that appropriate handling methods are in place and followed, along with proper breathing apparatus and training, and that the lifeguards stay vigilant in enforcing the rules of the park — all in the name of safety.

Chief Fritts does all of this while also meeting his duties as fire chief.

Pictured from left are Bill Magoon, East Tennessee property conservation consultant with Public Entity Partners; Chief Phil Fritts with the Town of Jonesborough; Judy Housley, East Tennessee casualty loss control consultant with Public Entity Partners; and Wayne Anderson, East Tennessee member services representative with Public Entity Partners.


Tom Daffron – City of Alcoa

Tom Daffron began his career as a firefighter with the City of Alcoa, was promoted throughout his career, and retired in 2016 as the city’s deputy chief. It was at this same time that the city was looking for a successor to oversee the safety and risk management areas. His commitment to safety and his leadership skills made him an obvious choice for the position of health and safety manager.

Since taking on the risk manager role, Mr. Daffron has been instrumental in reducing workplace injuries, implementing programs to assist with risk management, and maintaining positive work relationships with each employee group.

In December 2016, the city experienced a great tragedy when one of their electric linemen was killed while working during a storm. This tragedy was devastating to not only the electric department, but the entire community. Mr. Daffron spent many days and evenings working closely with TOSHA and OSHA to identify the root cause of this accident. His compassion and support to the lineman’s family and co-workers was unending. He displayed great strength, care and calmness during a very difficult time.

Mr. Daffron has received accolades from many department heads for his ability to approach each challenge as an opportunity. One example of this was his suggestion of installing back-up cameras in all meter reader vehicles in order to reduce the amount of vehicle accidents that were occurring while backing out of driveways. Public Entity Partners’s Safety Partners Grant assisted with the purchase of the cameras, and over the last two years, this group has had ZERO property damage accidents!

Not only does Mr. Daffron problem-solve for the city, he also regularly goes into the field to observe and interact with employees. He has an excellent rapport with the employee groups and is highly regarded by his peers.

Pictured from left are Bill Magoon, East Tennessee property conservation consultant with Public Entity Partners; Judy Housley, East Tennessee casualty loss control consultant with Public Entity Partners; Melissa Thompson, human resources director with the City of Alcoa (accepting on behalf of Tom Daffron); and Wayne Anderson, East Tennessee member services representative with Public Entity Partners.


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Grant and Scholarship Update

The James L. Richardson Driver Safety Grant was created to assist eligible PE Partner members with the purchase of general driver safety and training items. Examples of eligible items include instructor-led training, DVD training, backup cameras and alarms, GPS tracking systems, alert systems for administrators (such as black box technology), or tools and equipment used in providing on-site driver safety training.

Applications for this fund-matching grant are now being accepted through Sept. 28, 2018. Members with automobile liability coverage through Public Entity Partners are eligible to apply.

This program is designed to address general driver safety only; Emergency Vehicle Operations (EVO) training is not included. To complete an application and learn more about this grant, please click here.

Public Entity Partners is also accepting applications for the “Excellence in Risk Management” TnPRIMA Conference Scholarship. These will be accepted until Sept. 28, 2018. Preference is given to individuals with direct responsibility for risk management and safety, and to members who have not previously attended TnPRIMA. To learn more about this scholarship or to complete the application, click here.

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Motor Vehicle Record Checks

Did you know that automobile accidents are the most common type of litigation filed against local governments? They are also the most common cause of line-of-duty deaths for government employees.

To decrease the likelihood of employees being injured in auto accidents, or of your entity being sued due to a wreck, Public Entity Partners recommends that motor vehicle record (MVR) checks be conducted on all employees who are assigned driving responsibilities.

Ideally, this should be completed as part of the selection process for applicants who will be driving your entity’s vehicles, and every three years thereafter for existing employees with driving assignments and privileges. After conducting MVR checks, any employee with an adverse driving record should be retrained and/or removed from driving your entity’s vehicles or driving a personal vehicle for entity business. If you find an employee with an invalid license, driving privileges should be revoked.

MVR checks can be completed by mailing a request to the Department of Safety, going to a local driver's license station, or through the State of Tennessee’s website. You will need to submit the employee’s name, date of birth and driver's license number. Please keep in mind that the fee charged by the state is slightly higher if you go through their website instead of mailing your request or requesting the MVR check in-person.

Through the James L. Richardson Driver Safety Grant, Public Entity Partners will fully reimburse your entity for MVR checks through the State of Tennessee, up to your grant eligibility amount. Grant applications for the Driver Safety Grant are being accepted through Sept. 28. To complete your grant application, and to read all instructions and eligibility requirements, please visit:

If you would like to address your entity’s exposure to vehicle accidents, please reach out to your casualty loss control consultant.

East Tennessee
Judy Housley

Middle Tennessee
Chester Darden

West Tennessee
Paul Chambliss

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Tennessee Trivia

Q: According to TVA, how many kilowatt-hours of electricity were supplied to households and commercial/industrial customers through local power companies in Fiscal Year 2017?

A. TVA provided 38 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to 2.8 million households and 48 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to 459,000 commercial / industrial customers, all through local power companies.