By DAN FAGAN
Former Department of Public Safety Commissioner Amanda Price took a direct shot at Mike Dunleavy on Facebook this week describing the governor as a member of the “good ole boys club.”
Price believes Dunleavy fired her back in February after she demoted a former union boss and political ally of the governor’s.
This past week, Dunleavy reversed Price’s demotion of Trooper Doug Massie from colonel to sergeant. He’s a colonel again.
Massie, who was president of the Public Safety Employees Union during the time Dunleavy was running for governor, played a big role in securing the union’s endorsement of “Big Mike.”
It was a huge get, considering Dunleavy ran as a government cutting candidate. Public employee unions aren’t typically too keen on candidates promising to cut government.
Here’s what Price posted on her Facebook page on Thursday:
Price says in 2019 she spoke with Dunleavy about her concerns with Massie and what she describes as his inability to perform his duties as director of the Troopers’ Wildlife Division. She says she even considered removing him.
“During the conversation I asked the governor if I could take appropriate and necessary personnel action with Massie or if he expected me to keep Massie as colonel regardless of performance issues,” says Price. “At that time, he told me that Col. Massie was my staff, and I should handle it as I see fit.”
Price says she demoted Massie and quickly heard from Dunleavy.
“A few hours after I took the action to demote Massie, the governor called me very upset,” says Price. “He was more escalated than I’ve ever heard him in the three plus years that I’ve known him, even though the action should not have been a surprise to him as I had spoken to both he and the Chief of Staff Ben Stevens a number of times about my concerns. He was very upset and ultimately hung up on me.”
Price says Dunleavy called her a few days later and apologized, telling her he needs to think about this and that he would get back to her.
Price says that was the last time she ever heard from Dunleavy. To this day she says he won’t take her calls.
Three days later Stevens called Price to his office telling her she must resign or be fired. The only reason Stevens gave for the firing was the governor wanted to take the department in a different direction.
Price believes she was fired because she demoted Massie.
Price says because of his political connection to the governor, Massie now becomes untouchable for the incoming commissioner. He or she cannot take action against the colonel if they want to keep their job.
Price says it’s clear to her when Dunleavy promised during the campaign to make public safety a priority, what he really meant was he’d make the Public Safety Employee Union’s endorsement a priority.
Dan Fagan hosts the number one morning drive radio show in Alaska on Newsradio 650, KENI. He splits his time between Anchorage and New Orleans.