Fact check: Bill Walker attacks Dunleavy for supposed ‘loyalty pledge,’ but his letter was nearly identical in 2014

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Attack ads by the Bill Walker for Governor campaign are dredging up his supporters’ old complaint that Gov. Mike Dunleavy asked for a loyalty pledge from employees who wished to remain working for the Dunleavy Administration upon the departure of Walker, who was unceremoniously dethroned in 2018 by Alaska voters.

The letter sent by former Gov. Bill Walker to employees of Gov. Sean Parnell when Walker took over in 2014 told them to submit their letters of resignation.

The letter sent by the incoming-Walker Administration to Parnell employees is nearly identical to the one sent by the incoming-Dunleavy Administration to those who had been hired under the Walker regime, and we have acquired copies of both letters so the public can make their own judgment about the so-called “loyalty pledge” that Walker says Dunleavy demanded of state workers.

The Walker letter from 2014:

Message from Bruce Botelho, Walker-Mallott Transition Coordinator:

On December 1, 2014, Governor-elect Bill Walker and Lieutenant Governor-elect Byron Mallott will be sworn into office. Prior to and immediately after this date, they will be making personnel decisions concerning the staffing of Executive and Lieutenant Governor’s Offices.

A preliminary and customary step in the transition between administrations is the request for resignation letters. In keeping with that custom, I ask that you submit your resignation from state employment in writing to the address noted below by November 28, 2014. Please make your resignation effective upon acceptance by the Walker-Mallott administration. Of course, no action on your letter will be taken before the transition.

Acceptance of your resignation will not be automatic and consideration will be given to your statement of interest (if any) in continuing in your current or another state position. Please also include your e-mail and phone contact so that you can be reached to discuss your status directly.

We understand that transitions are a time of uncertainty and great personal stress. We will endeavor to reach individual determinations on an expedited basis. Finally, we wish to express our appreciation for your service to the people of Alaska. We trust that you found it rewarding and that it will prove to be a solid foundation for your future endeavors.

Please submit your letter electronically to: [email protected]

Note: If you believe you have received this message in error please so indicate in a reply to the above electronic mail address.

The Dunleavy letter to employees was almost identical, although was a bit more inviting in the way it asked people to apply for positions in the Dunleavy Administration. The letter was sent from Transition Chair Tuckerman Babcock:

Over the next several weeks, the outgoing and incoming administration are working together to make the transition from Governor Walker to Governor-Elect Dunleavy as seamless as possible. Both administrations greatly appreciate the dedication and service of all employees who serve the State of Alaska. We understand that transitions can be difficult both personally and professionally. Therefore, we are working to provide you with information to make the transition process as smooth as possible.

As you aware, Governor-Elect Dunleavy will be sworn into office on Monday, December 3, 2018. In the coming weeks, the incoming administration will be making numerous personnel decisions. Governor-Elect Dunleavy is committed to bringing his own brand of energy and direction to state government. It is not Governor-Elect Dunleavy’s intent to minimize the hard work and effort put forth by current employees, but rather to ensure that any Alaskan who wishes to serve is given proper and fair consideration.

As is customary during the transition from one administration to the next, we hereby request that you submit your resignation in writing on or before November 30, 2018 to [email protected] If you wish to remain in your current position, please make your resignation effective upon acceptance by the Dunleavey administration.

Acceptance of your resignation will not be automatic, and consideration will be given to your statement of interest in continuing in your current or another appointment-based state position. Please also include your e- mail address and phone contact so that you can be reached to discuss your status directly.

Governor-Elect Dunleavy is encouraging you and all Alaskans to submit their names for consideration for service to our great state. Should you desire to continue your service to the State of Alaska in another appointment-based position, you are invited to submit your information and the position(s) you desire for consideration before December 3, 2018. Please submit your application through the portal located at GOVERNORMIKEDUNLEAVY .COM.

We appreciate your assistance and cooperation during this period of transition. Again, we wish to express our sincere gratitude for your dedication and service to the State of Alaska and wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Note: If you believe you have received this message in error please so indicate in a reply to the above electronic mail address.

Walker is running for governor again, on a ticket that is no longer endorsed by the Alaska Democratic Party, which has decided to back Les Gara for governor. Walker left the Republican Party in 2014 and ran with the support of the Alaska Democratic Party that year with Democrat Byron Mallott as his running mate. This year his running mate is labor attorney Heidi Drygas, who was his commissioner of Labor during his four turbulent years in office.

The two copies of the letters are included below:

28 COMMENTS

  1. Just like walker show up to a fight in a sinking ship. Go back to California. And then work on saving your evil self Captin crunch of the evil bunch.

  2. Of course the Democrats are no longer backing Walker. Pedophilia has a repelling effect on voters and Walker never could address the matter about Mallott with the public. Walker is a coward on a revenge mission. He wants to destroy the PFD program to get even with his enemies, which comes out to well over 65% of Alaskans. Rank choice voting and Scott Kendall ain’t gonna save your ass no more, Bill.

  3. This article fails to explain that it is only customary for an incoming governor to ask for resignations from commissioners and top policy leaders. There are a couple of hundred of those. Dunleavey demanded resignations from thousands of state employees – basically from anyone he could legally fire, including prosecutors, state attorneys, and doctors. He also demanded that they provide a loyalty pledge if they wanted to keep their jobs. His conduct was ruled illegal and unlawful by a federal judge, who awarded $100,000’s of thousands of dollars to two psychiatrists who refused to comply with Dunleavy’s illegal demands. Walker did not do any of these things, and no judge has ruled that Walker broke the law. So basically this article is just false and misleading.

  4. Bill Walker’s only agenda is stealing the PFD. Mike Dunleavy’s only agenda is allowing the legislature to steal the PFD. Same difference.

  5. China Walker is a low life bottom feeder, only looking out for his personal intrusts he has strong ties to. The big money is in China, he doesn’t care about the people of Alaska, just wants to keep filling his pockets,. Just how much money does one person need.

  6. It was my understanding at the time that the issue around Dunleavy’s letter had to do more with who he sent it to, not necessarily the content. As I recall he sent this out to all at will employees, not just your typical politically appointed positions. I also recall reading an article be Art Chance on this topic where he doubted the legality of it all. Admittedly this happened 4 years ago so my memory could be off a bit.

  7. Well, Walker is a leftist.
    .
    Which means it is OK when he does it, but not OK when someone even remotely on the right side of the political aisle does it.

  8. Walker is betting that Alaskans forgot Walker was Governor four years ago, raided the PFD, and signed the criminal protection bill.

    • Americans do have a very short memory. Their attention span isn’t much longer than yesterday. At some point you need to let it all go and get on with it. We did that with the Romans, and the Germans and the Japanese. We should forgive Walker for what he did…… but not today.

  9. Where is the loyalty pledge? I can see how two letters can be almost identical and one can include a thin-veiled loyalty request, but I don’t see anything resembling. I’m looking for something like, “If you feel that you cannot participate whole-heartedly to the cause the new governor then we expect you to resign.”

    I remember when this story first came out. I assumed there was *something* in there but figured it’s ok to expect employees to want to work for you if they are to stay employed. I also figured Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her doorstep and meant it tongue-in-cheek. I guess the strategy is to make an accusation that is believable so that supporters would confess it is true, and then continue the attack with showing why it is wrong.

  10. I never understood Walker’s mumbling rhetoric when he was governor, and now that he has a paid orator, it makes even less sense. This is not the circus crowd of past, most of us have now received a crash course in government in the past few years. Careful when you pee into the wind, someone may be watching.

  11. I’m still curious why Bill is running. He’d be an unpopular lame duck the moment he got back into office. His power and influence would be limited.

    Unless….

    He and his machine have enough juice to change the AK Constitution in the upcoming convention to allow him to rule as long as he wants.

    Or, if elected he will just do like the Anchorage Assembly and completely ignore the law.

    Both are equally possible.

  12. These letters are SOP. If people want permanent work with the state, generally uneffected by changes in political leadership, they should keep their employment within the regular civil service classifications.

    This is hypocrisy on the part of the Walker campaign and a sign of things to come should he be elected.

  13. Dementia is setting in for old Bill Walker. He’s running as a “revenge candidate” for governor. Not against Dunleavy. Against Alaska resident voters.
    This is what pedophile-enablers do.

  14. Walker’s ads are run non stop here in Liberal Juneau. It’s all the same Liberal mumbo jumbo. Attack Dunleavy, then promise freebies upon freebies. Same tired old tactics.

  15. Picture of Walker on a tank? Hilarious. Michael Dukakis tried that one in 1988 and the tank blew-up. Nothing can save Walker. He’s doomed.

  16. This is really unfair to Enabler-in-Chief Walker. No one should be allowed to comment on his stuff. Rest assured the ADN and Channel 2 won’t do it.

    Having taken that easy shot, I will ask another question: Does this latest version of Bill Walker bring anything – anything at all – new to the table? Better yet: How much are the Chinese paying him?

  17. Walker has been running since he lost the last time. He started with a Gray Davis – like recall effort which failed due to the arrival of Covid. For those of you who wonder what that Gray Davis recall was, it was against a democrat in this case who had won overwhelmingly in California. In California lawsuits are done by the Lt. Governor, in this case Cruz Bustamante, who was suing one of George W. Bush’s friends Ken Lay and his company, Enron. California had Enron dead to rights. $8 Billion would have saved California at that time. In order to protect against this, Bush and buddies met with Arnold Schwarzenegger, a popular actor and businessman to run for the job after they started the recall effort due to the electrical crises brought on by Davis’ cancelling of an emergency declaration that enabled the state to buy energy from out of state companies. So basically Davis’ opponents took advantage of his sinking numbers. It worked.
    Dunleavy, on the other hand, not only had Covid to deal with, had handled emergency quite well, but a changing economic picture also helped him to pull better numbers. Suffice it to say his recall didn’t work. So Walker and friends switched to legislative tactics master minded by Walker allies and later campaign co-chairs Bryce Egemon and Natasha von Imhof. Dunleavy called the legislature back 4 times in 2021-2022 to try to get the PFD straightened out as well as other matters, but as Senator Stedman said, after Walker’s veto of the statue PFD and the Alaska State Supreme Court’s ruling, the PFD was now a matter for the legislature to settle. So if anyone wants the PFD to go back to the statute amount, they will have to get a constitutional amendment passed.
    Governor Dunleavy had initiatives submitted for the PFD and also one for the Alaskans to vote on any new taxes. But it is the legislature that has marked this as its turf. So no amount of pressure will work, since it is the legislature that has to OK the initiatives for this to be voted on.
    Don’t forget Scott Kendall’s contributions either, he was the former Chief of Staff to Walker. Kendall’s hand has been in everyone of these items, and more. Take the initiative process completely out of the legislature’s hands and that will take a constitutional convention, unless there is some other way to do it. I hope there is,because Alaska has a really great constitution in so many ways. Meanwhile, Keep Walker out of the Governor’s Mansion!

    • Arnold Schwarzenegger was George Bush Sr.’s advisor on fitness. That’s why W. tapped Arnie for governor. As for Scott Kendall, I hear from Fairbanks that his snot-nosed brother in law, Grier Hopkins, is going to get his ass kicked in a state house race. Kendall can’t save him. The redistricting diluted his district, that was previously loaded down with fruits, nuts and LGBTQ.

  18. Bill Walker campaign ads are more of a confession. He has no original ideas of how to make this state better. He accuses Governor Dunn Leavy of doing the same things he has done.

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