The wife of Hamilton County Superintendent Bryan Johnson has taken a $90,000 a year position as a senior advisor to Democratic Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.
This, according to Berke’s spokeswoman Richel Albright, who said Candy Johnson joined Berke’s administration as one of his senior advisors.
Johnson took the job last week, Albright told The Tennessee Star.
Chattanooga City Council member Chip Henderson said Thursday that no one from Berke’s administration had formally introduced Johnson to the council, as is customary.
“I will tell you we have not been briefed on the hire,” Henderson said.
This, despite The Chattanoogan reporting Council member Demetrus Coonrod welcomed Johnson at Tuesday’s City Council Agenda Session.
“Stacy Richardson, the mayor’s chief of staff, said she would discuss with council members ‘offline’ the role of Ms. Johnson at the mayor’s office,” The Chattanoogan reported.
Albright said several people have advised Berke since 2013, most recently Hames McKissic, who left in 2018.
“Mayor Berke is the final decision maker on positions in his office,” Albright said in an emailed statement to The Star.
On her LinkedIn page, Johnson describes herself as an independent consultant. She also was the lead education policy contact for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Johnson was also, among other things, a Clarksville City Council member from 2008 to 2012.
Albright also said Johnson has worked for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Ed Trust, and Ford Hub Next Generation Learning.
Henderson, meanwhile, said he did some independent research on Johnson and said she is a worthy hire and did not get the job just because her husband is school superintendent.
“I would say she was maybe more qualified than her husband would be,” Henderson said.
“I think she probably stands head and shoulders above most. I would say she was not given this position because of her husband’s standing in the community.”
As The Star reported, Bryan Johnson has pushed for a plan to add 350 new positions to the school system, which could result in county commissioners jacking up property taxes.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Candy Johnson” by Candy Johnson. Background Photo “Chattanooga Municipal Building” by Andrew Jamenson. CC BY-SA 3.0.