FRIDAY MASSACRE AFTER DEVASTATING REPORT
Following a report about worker safety at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, Health and Social Services Commissioner Valerie Davidson has fired one of her two deputy commissioners.
Deputy Commissioner Karen Forrest, who oversees the Alaska Division of Behavioral Health, and the division’s Director Randall Burns, along with Alaska Psychiatric Institute CEO Ron Hale have all been fired.
Davidson has appointed Monique Martin, as acting deputy of Family, Community, and Integrated Services. She has served as a health policy adviser to the department. Before coming to work for the Walker Administration, she was a government relations specialist for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.
Gennifer Moreau-Johnson is acting director of the Division of Behavioral Health.
Duane Mayes is the new CEO of Alaska Psychiatric Institute. He was the director of the Division of Senior and Disabilities Services.
Deb Etheridge is the new acting director of the Division of Senior and Disabilities Services.
“I have asked each of these individuals to help our department develop a clear path forward during this time of change,” Davidson wrote in a memo to the staff of DHSS.
The upheaval comes just weeks before the general election, and is a crisis not unlike the National Guard “scandal” that beset the Parnell Administration in the weeks leading up to the 2014 election.
But this time, the media is unlikely to latch on to the lapses of leadership, as they did when Parnell was attempting to correct a culture of behavioral problems at the Alaska National Guard.
A critic of the process asked why Commissioner Davidson has not submitted her resignation. There’s no evidence that during such critical election timeframe, when he desperately needs the support of Alaska Natives, that he will be demanding she step down.