General Services head leaving for private sector

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Department of General Services Commissioner Steve Cates is leaving to take a job in the private sector.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam made the announcement on Friday.

Cates has faced criticism during his 2 1/2 years as commissioner, first for his role in evicting Occupy Nashville protesters and more recently for overseeing a plan to outsource management of most state offices.

The $38 million management contract went to the same firm that recommended the change.

In a news release, Haslam praised Cates for "bringing state government into the 21st Century."

Haslam said Cates' achievements include developing a reliable inventory of state properties with a plan for maintaining them, creating more functional and cost-effective work spaces for employees, and leveraging the state's buying power for purchases.

Haslam has not named Cates' replacement.

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