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Tuesday, December 11, 2018
HomeAlaska Daily PlanetThis is routine, Gov. Walker

This is routine, Gov. Walker

OUTGOING GOVERNOR IS OUT OF LINE

The incessant moaning and wailing over Gov.-elect Mike Dunleavy’s request that Alaska’s temporary state workers tender their resignations and reapply for their jobs might make you think this is new thing. It is not – and it is overdue.

The routine request was sent out to 800 or so “at will” workers who are exempt from the State Personnel Act and the State Pay Plan, or folks who serve at the governor’s pleasure. None of that means all the workers will be let go.

That about-to-be-former Gov. Bill Walker is bemoaning Dunleavy’s action is nothing short of ludicrous. Walker did the same thing when he assumed office, sending out about 250 or so requests for resignations from higher-level exempt employees.

Such requests are made at every level of state and local government; they are made at the federal level. The new guy, after all, has a right to have his own people working for him. Period.

“At will” employees, some who possess a particular expertise, or others who simply are political hangers-on with friends in high places, know going into the job it is temporary; that it could end with the election of a new boss. That Dunleavy asked for the resignations and new applications should have been expected. If affected workers want want to retain their jobs, they should reapply.

While such shakeouts are good for the incoming administration, they are good for the public, too. Political parties and special interests love to see their own embedded deep in government to affect executive policy or its execution. That does not always lead to better government.

Giving the new governor a chance to field his own team, from top to bottom, is good for him – and the rest of Alaska.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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