Breaking: Public Safety commissioner departs Dunleavy administration

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Amanda Price, commissioner of Public Safety, was asked by Gov. Mike Dunleavy to resign, which she did today in writing. She sent notification to her staff, and word leaked to media immediately.

Price said she had taken a personnel action the governor disagreed with.

Price is the first female Department of Public Safety Commissioner in Alaska history and has been with the Dunleavy administration for his first two years. She did not come up through the police ranks, but had come from a law enforcement family, and brought years of experience in management and government affairs.

Dunleavy has appointed long time DPS employee Kelly Howell to serve on special assignment as the head of the department until a new commissioner is appointed in the near future.

On Facebook, she wrote:

As of 1000am this morning, Friday February 12, I am no longer the Commissioner for the Department of Public Safety. My resignation was requested by Governor Dunleavy – actually to be specific, the governor didn’t face me and instead chief of staff, Ben Stevens made the request.After more than two years of consistent, measurable success running the DPS, and after only having had conversations with the GOA highlighting my success in the role, the COS said today when requesting my resignation that the GOA is “taking public safety in a different direction.”I believe I was removed for two reasons, the only two issues which the governor has ever discussed with me as challenges, and which he reiterated directly in a phone conversation we had on Feb 8: 1. I loudly advocated to improve 911 dispatch services to rural communities in spite of the Governors reluctance to do so. This work that needs to be done, quite literally, to save lives. Though the DPS experts, men and women who have done this work for decades along with a nationally renowned telecommunications expert, presented a detailed, strategic plan to provide life saving improvements to 911 dispatch services in our most vulnerable and underserved communities, a plan that would have saved the state approx 700k annually (documented fact), the governor elected to instead require the DPS to continue issuing multi million dollar contracts to the Mat Su and the Kenai Peninsula Boroughs- actions which will cost the state more money (documented fact – this is not opinion)for the same level of service, foregoing the improvement to rural Alaska public safety. I opposed this vehemently. My strenuous objections are noted in emails directly to the GOA, the COS and the working group. 2. The second pinnacle was reached when I made a recent personnel decision. I am limited in my discussion of this action. On its face this personnel decision is a decision well within my statutory authority (Alaska Statute 44.17.40). However there are some mitigating factors that made my removal of this individual untenable to the Governor. There is much documentation on each of these incidents. As a person that helped get this governor elected, I (like many Alaskans) am more than disappointed in him.People before politics, candidate Dunleavy said. Fix government, he said. No status quo, he said. And his favorite thing to say was “don’t get Stockholm syndrome” – his reference to his expectation that as leaders, we make changes that are right, regardless of politics. Candidate Dunleavy and his philosophies are not how Governor Dunleavy governs.I was humbled to serve among the incredible professionals within the DPS, extremely proud of all that we achieved, and eternally grateful for their exceptional service to Alaskans. I count this experience as a true blessing and will value the memories, while being incredibly proud of the team I worked with and all we achieved. DPS is a bright spot in our state – filled with incredibly dedicated and relentlessly hard working men and women, and it was my true privilege to work for them, and for Alaska.

42 COMMENTS

    • Ben Stevens? I heard many and loud echoes when I read that name. How do these ghosts keep appearing at these controversial events?

      • Once I learned that Ben Stevens was being invited into the administration of Dunleavy, I realized that the latter had no real integrity (I had long recognized the same about the former).

  1. Hard to argue with her. Especially the part about Dunleavy being a disappointment.

    And as usual, the Cowardly Lion hid behind Ben Stevens.

  2. She didn’t waste a second to trash the governor , play the victim and not tell the whole story…just the part that hurt her feelings…… she sounds like a democrat…

      • Bottom line:
        She was never really qualified to run ADPS. No law enforcement badge. Never arrested a suspected criminal. Never carried a firearm. It’s hard to gain the trust of the rank and file in LE when you lack the bare credentials that your subordinated personnel bring to the workplace. It’s kind of like being given the head position in a surgery department over 100 doctors, but never having performed an intubation yourself. There’s a credibility gap. People become suspicious.
        Besides,
        she is just too damned pretty to be giving orders to those below her who gave dodged bullets and taken down drug-crazed, gun waving punks.
        Good move, Governor!
        The bad news is that your recall petition just gained another vote.

    • She was doing an excellent job. She brought humanity and compassion to the job. I have no idea what political party she belongs to, but if being a thoughtful, caring and strong leader are democrat things, than so be it. Oh, and KB… she IS the victim – of a vindictive, shallow, Rump mini-me.

  3. Dunleavy is starting to look like a character from the South Park comedy show from the 1990’s…
    “You must respect my A-thor-it-y or else”…
    What a mess of an adminstration we have on our hands right now.

  4. More evidence Dunleavy is an establishment stooge, probably too scared of the Covid hoax to talk to her face to face without a face diaper.

  5. I love in-your-face forced resignation letters. They are great for the record. I hope the fuller story comes out. Transparency is essential to our state and the Republic.

  6. So he didn’t like a staffing decision and he didn’t like a project she had planned. He canned her. That’s his right. So rather than say, hey, we had different visions and I made some decisions he didn’t like so we parted ways, she trashes him? These are appointees. They serve at the pleasure of the gov. She didn’t like he used his chief of staff to pass the word, that’s fine, but that’s still his prerogative. I have had disagreements on policy with this many governors (not that any of them have cared or even known) but I’ve always gotten a bad taste from the folks that throw their boss under the bus when he or she fires them. He can fire her because he doesn’t like the weather that day. She’s a political appointee. That’s it. Take your resume and go someplace else lady.

    That said, probably a little more vetting of these folks is required.. this is starting to look like the Trump admin where everyone who let’s go trashes their boss—more than likely she’s left several positions by going against a boss and then trashing them. Usually this sort of thing isn’t a one time deal.

    • I think you called that one just right, Lawrence. That’s exactly how I saw it, too. Much like a toddler throwing a tantrum. Instead of showing some grace upon making an exit, now she has shown herself to be immature. I certainly wouldn’t want to hire her.

    • Best post of the day!! Too many appointees forget they serve at his pleasure….. and demand rights they do not have. I am like the rest of you all.. I know nothing but… from what I read he was not for closing the Valley dispatch down nor the Kenai Dispatch Center… She insisted they be closed…. A little class goes a long way when you are throwing your former boss under the bus…Showing a little support would not hurt either coming from the two areas where he saved the Dispatch Centers and jobs!

  7. “ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) – The director of the Division of Alaska Wildlife Troopers separated from the division last week.

    Doug Massie separated from his director position but is still a member of the Department of Public Safety, according to a statement from the Department of Public Safety sent to Alaska’s News Source on Feb. 5.”

  8. Former Commissioner Price seems to have forgotten how and by whom she was appointed. Serving as the head of a principal department of State government is a privilege and an honor – not a right or entitlement. I do not see much of that sentiment in her self-serving resignation statement.

  9. “I loudly advocated to improve 911 dispatch services to rural communities in spite of the Governors reluctance to do so. ”

    I sure the governor had his political reasons. She fell into the typical bureaucratic Stockholm syndrome of overly identifying with the apparent victims of an inadequate 911 system, a system part of her nominal jurisdiction. She also exhibited an unwillingness to accept that a higher authority (the governor) has the bigger picture, with more political pieces to juggle than she was aware of, or could accept. If she couldn’t live within the gov’s restrains then she should have quit in protest.
    I’ll sure miss seeing her, though.

    • Billy says “I’m sure the governor had his reasons.” Yes, Billy he did. The reason is that the person Price demoted is Dunleavy’s next door neighbor and long time family friend who campaigned for him. So, just like Dunleavy’s hero, The Orange Mob Boss, he fired (well, actually his little lap-dog Bennie did) Price. Just like his Orange-faced hero, Dunleavy knows you destroy the careers of those who don’t fall into lock-step with you.

    • The dispatch system was already a joke. Don’t be in a MVA out in the middle of nowhere. Too often the dispatcher used to send EMS to the wrong Highway. I can’t imagine how bad it is now. Corner cutting seems worthwhile until it’s your head in the noose.

  10. Once again, Mike leaves it to Stevens. He did the same with the firing of Donna Arduin.
    Price does a good job of repeating the governor’s words.
    May God Bless.
    I lost my faith in Dunleavy when he started to relent on his fiscal policies.
    When he returned most of the money he cut from U of A, that was the final straw.
    When he fired Ardiun, that was simply unfathomable, there was no need, she was his lightning rod, effecting the hard fiscal cuts that had to be done.
    Then he backed off on the PFD.
    He kowtowed to Geissel and Edgmon.
    Then came the COVID-19 challenge, instead of putting our constitutional rights first, he ignored them and allowed mayors to become minor despots.
    Dunleavy has to go, he must be replaced come reelection.
    Good on Amanda Price for trying to follow what the governor started out to do–to cut costs and cut gov’t.

  11. She wanted to end the multi million dollar 911 Dispatch contracts with the Kenai & Mat Su Boroughs & replace them with a more cost effective system. Nothing to see here – move along! She was a threat to whoever was lining their pockets with those millions. Typical political corruption, although I never thought of Dumbleavy as a grifter before.

  12. Over the years, we have seen many department heads forced to resign, both federal and state. The most publicized was Walley Hickel. The facts are; they were hired to work as part of a team, be loyal to the governor’s policies, be accountable to the reasons for being hired and be a competent manager. But, most importantly, they are there to make a difference and are only there for a limited time. So why resign or get fired.? If she is consistent with other failed dept. heads, its because she forgot why she was hired in the first place , argued for policies not supported by the gov and went solo to the public and legislature. You will notice there are very few references in her resignation to personal achievements. The letter mostly criticizes the gov. One has to ask, was she in over her head and how effective does she believe she will be now that she is not in a position to really make a difference? My guess is she made some bad unilateral decisions and paid the price. You can’t be arrogant-go solo and be part of a team. Dunleavy made the right decision.

    • Yep. She basically admits she made decisions he didn’t like, that’s why he fired her-which probably means he specifically TOLD her not to do those things, and she did them anyway. She wasn’t the CEO of the company. She wasn’t elected. They could be great ideas, but we didn’t elect her and she wasn’t in charge. She reported to him, and on certain big decisions she needed to check with him, and either she didn’t, or she did and went against his decisions. Either way, that’s reason enough to let her go. The sad thing is, say whatever you want in private company, or down the road, write a book, what have you..but throwing yourself boss under the bus like this, at this time, looks petty and immature and it closes more doors than it opens. That’s the shame. If she made some good calls but thought she should not have a boss at all, then she should run for Gov herself, but don’t leave throwing a temper tantrum. Instead of a dignified exit, and maybe some other job lined up, she’s basically narrowed her options, because who wants to hire someone who acts like that when she’s let go for not adhering to the boss’s directives? Odds are, she’ll probably try to cozy up to someone running against this Gov, which may be somewhat of a pattern, and how she got into this admin in the first place…

  13. Connect the dots; Doug Massie was the head of the Troopers’ Union that bolted the AFL-CIO endorsement and backed Dunleavy. This is not someone you’d cross as a political appointee unless you had your Governor’s support.

  14. Once again, Art hits the nail on the head. Doug Massie was untouchable in the Dunleavy Administration. It’ll be interesting to see if he either gets the job back or takes the Commisioner position. Both those options would be huge mistakes.

  15. Could it be the Troopers themselves that thought Massie was not suitable to be in a leadership position and only got the job based upon his Father’s name and legacy. Dunleavy or others in his administration “chose” Doug Massie to lead the Wildlife Troopers division and maybe Commissioner Price realized that was not good for AST or Alaska. Making tough management decisions concerning personnel and the good old boy network cost her the job.

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