The Tennessee state government has a new Human Rights Commission leader, according to a Tuesday release from the state.
“The Tennessee Human Rights Board of Commissioners has named Muriel Malone Nolen to serve in the capacity of Executive Director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC) effective July 18, 2022,” that organization says. “Nolen joined THRC in April 2021 as the agency’s Deputy Director and later took on the responsibilities as the Interim Executive Director in February 2022.”
According to her biography on the state’s website, Nolen spent nearly two decades as Assistant District Attorney General in Shelby County, along with other state government entities.
“Mrs. Nolen is a trial lawyer by trade and has worked for various governmental and non-profit agencies throughout Tennessee including, the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office, Memphis Area Legal Services, Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office and Southwest Tennessee Community College,” her biography says.
THRC dates back to the Civil Rights era. It was founded in 1963 “to encourage, promote and advise the public of their human rights.”
It is governed by a nine-member board of commissioners who each serve six-year terms. Those commissioners are appointed by the lieutenant governor and Speaker of the House.
“The Board determined that our next leader had to be someone who could implement change in our culture while moving the agency toward efficiencies in processes and sensitivities toward those we serve,” said Robin Derryberry, the chair of the commission. “The Board also wanted someone who could build a team that will set a strong course for the future. We were fortunate to have Muriel step in at a critical time as our interim director last winter. As we reviewed over 35 candidates for the position, it became obvious that the agency’s future would be in great hands with Muriel Malone Nolen leading our team. We’re grateful to have her in this key position.”
The government organization is staffed by nearly 30 employees and is charged with investigating human rights complaints in the state.
“A 29-member staff of investigators, attorneys, and other professional support personnel carry out the day-to-day duties of conducting thorough investigation and educating the public about their rights and responsibilities,” according to the organization. “Staff duties include the receipt, investigation, and, when necessary, litigation of discrimination complaints. When parties agree, the commission also conducts mediation and conciliation as means to resolve complaints.”
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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].