VICE CHAIR OF TROUBLED COMMISSION HAS RESIGNED
Following the sudden resignation of Alaska Human Rights Commission Executive Director Marti Buscaglia, some members of the Alaska Legislature are concerned about the culture at the commission and are calling for removal of the commission members who voted to retain Buscaglia.
Last week, the commissioners of the agency, all volunteers, chose to retain her rather than fire her on a vote of 5-2. She was suspended without pay and was supposed to apologize for her actions.
House Minority Leader Rep. Lance Pruitt said an investigation needs to be mounted into what led Buscaglia to believe she could regulate Alaskans’ speech, after she was subject to an investigation by the State.
Also last week, key Republicans placed a public records request for communications between Buscaglia and her staff to determine if there is a pattern of abusing Alaskans’ civil rights. Buscaglia used her authority to suppress the free speech rights of an Alaskan who had parked his truck in the parking lot associated with the agency. The truck had a “Black Rifles Matter” sticker on it, which refers to Second Amendment rights.
“While we’re happy to see that Ms. Buscaglia will be moving on from the position, we’re still very concerned about the culture that was created under her at the Commission for Human Rights,” Rep. Pruitt said. “If her leadership and values, in any way, allowed for the systemic suppression of rights, we’re going to do everything we can to root it out.”
“This is a great victory for free speech and for Alaskans,” said Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, one of the members involved with the inquiry.
“Anyone who enables this sort of civil rights violation, as the Commission did by retaining Buscaglia in the first place, has breached the public’s trust and need not be serving in government. I call on Governor Dunleavy to take swift action in removing the commissioners responsible for this egregious oversight,” she said.
The vice chair of the commission also resigned today. Freddie R. Olin IV submitted his letter of resignation, stating that he was moving out of state.