Black Rifles Matter: House members query agency misconduct - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, December 15, 2019
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Black Rifles Matter: House members query agency misconduct

PROBE EXPANDS FROM HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION TO CORRECTIONS

Two members of the Alaska House of Representatives sent a letter to newly confirmed Department of Corrections Commissioner Nancy Dahlstrom, expressing concern about the internal disciplinary processes in a recent intra-agency incident.

In their letter, Rep. Dave Talerico and Rep. Josh Revak named Kendall Rhyne, a state probation officer who was involved in the recent free-speech suppression incident that led to the resignations of four Human Rights Commission directors and commissioners.

[See the Must Read Alaska archive of stories on this topic]

The incident started when former Human Rights Executive Director Marti Buscaglia ordered a workman to remove his truck from the agency’s parking lot because of its gun decal. She did so by using her official state business card, with a handwritten note on the back. Rhyne, the probation officer, also left his Corrections Department business card on the worker’s truck at the same time.

[Read: Black Rifles Matter: What about the probation officer?]

Buscaglia was an executive and has since resigned. But Rhyne is protected by his union and the public is not likely to find out what disciplinary matters, if any, took place.

“While we are gravely concerned that any state employee would try and use his or her government position to try and suppress free speech – an offense we believe is worthy of punishment on its own – we are equally as disturbed by new information that suggests patterns of troubling internal behaviors and abuses of power within government agencies,” Talerico and Revak wrote.

[Read the letter here.

The letter asks the commissioner to provide details about the department’s processes regarding complaints about workplace misconduct. It asks if the commissioner is aware that a DOC employee might have been turned away by the Human Rights Commission when attempting to file a complaint against another employee. And it asks about Kendall Rhyne specifically.

“No government agency is above the law, and neither are classified employees,” Rep. Talerico said. “We have heard and seen enough to know that this is worth an investigation, and we are going to get to the bottom of it.”

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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.

Latest comments

  • Alaska Lawmakers: “….we are equally as disturbed by new information that suggests patterns of troubling internal behaviors and abuses of power within government agencies”

    Is there ANY part of our state government that we can all be assured is NOT being adversely affected by the radical left?

    This would be laughable if it were not such a serious threat to our democracy.

    Every sane person in Alaska should be disturbed by this government agency abuse of our most basic freedoms.

    • As someone who worked for the State for short period of time: all of the long term employees are Leftists. I got in trouble for having a bible………..I got it quashed but the battle wasn’t worth staying with the state. And that was before the age of Obama, my understanding is it only got worse and worse. I own my own business now, my time as a Public Servant was the worst job I ever had. The apparatchiks have a disdain for the average Alaskan, and look down their nose at them.

      • You got that right….. They ( probation and Parole) actually gave me a derogatory remark on my evaluation for performing reserve military duty after 9/11…

  • Dave Talerico should have been House Speaker. And he would have been, if not for that little coward Rep. Knopp. None of these outrageous political diversions and Democrat theater would have ever taken place. The House had NO leadership as a result.

  • The Dunleavy Administration and some conservative members of the legislature are exposing the long-buried secrets of State government that have been tucked away again, and again, and again… election after election after election. The left is shrilling at the exposure to the light. The election of Dunleavy (and the same for Trump), only revealed the Left’s hate. They didn’t create it.

  • It is absolutely a travesty when government employees use their position to push people around — it is called government overreach and something should be done about it. It’s a sad day for us all when we cannot trust government at any level.

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