Governor settles with 2 psychiatrists at API

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Today a settlement was finalized over a lawsuit brought by two former psychiatrists at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, who sued the Dunleavy Administration after being fired when the Dunleavy Administration took office at the end of 2018.

The state reached an agreement that all parties have approved and it settles all claims made, or that could be made, by the two former employees.

Neither Dunleavy nor his former chief of staff Tuckerman Babcock admitted to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. The Dunleavy Administration decided it was in the State’s best interest to move on, with a reasonable settlement value that avoids the risk and expense of continued litigation.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy maintains that the state’s incoming chief executive officer must have the authority to make policy and staff changes, when those staff members have their fingers in policy decisions.

Psychiatrist Anthony Blanford was awarded $220,000, and John Bellville was awarded $275,000.

The Dunleavy Administration has, since taking office, made substantial changes to the clinical services at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, which was in imminent danger of losing its accreditation when Dunleavy took office at the end of 2018.

23 COMMENTS

  1. So another loss being pitched as a win. Well, maybe for Dunleavy, but probably not for the state. We the people are paying for the gov’s mistakes and, for lack of a better term, governor overreach.

    • So, Bill Walkers theft of our dividends was not an govt over reach, that affects each and every Alaskan? The lame legislatures continued theft of PFD is not an over reach ? Here lies the problem with any govt employees being unionized, they do not have to play by the same rules as private sector. If these two were private sector, as per Ak labor laws could be terminated for any reason, without question or 6 figure pay offs.

      • You do realize the private sector has unions, don’t you? And no, you still can’t violate someone’s protected rights in the private sector.

    • You are so right! Just think what the state could better spend its money on. A 1/2 Million is a lot of money take from the general public good.

      • To quote someone who is particularly well informed, having won a similar case against the gov, “…you can’t just disobey the law, and expect to completely get away with it every time and have the State of Alaska foot the bill in the end..

    • What are you paying out of pocket? I admit, his administration has been taking a beating in courts the last three years and it’s been frustrating.

      • Whatever the balance may be between what we will not get in productivity and services that result from a half million gone for the settlement. That’s the problem with having no state wide taxes. Citizens in general do not care what happens because there is no cost to the non-taxpayers, but there remains a cost to the welfare of the state as a whole.
        You get what you pay for. Pay nothing, get nothing.

        • I would be more than happy to pay nothing in order to get nothing from the institutionalized coercion that is government, particularly from the bloated and hopelessly corrupt behemoth that is this state’s government.
          .
          Where do I sign up?

  2. That money? It will line some attorney’s pockets. So whose the real winner? I am betting the attorney is 200,000 or 400,000 dollars richer. I bet it’ll be wasted or go into cash box.

    • For sure the attorneys will get their cut. Your tax dollars at work.
      Wait a minute! We don’t pay individual taxes to the state, do we. But there’s still a cost. Every dollar wasted is a dollar not available for state troopers, public health workers, maintenance on state roads, public schools, roads to nowhere, per diems to legislatures, all of Dunleavy’s appointments to positions in his ever burgeoning bureaucracy, and, of course, your PFD.
      So, it’s still gonna cost ya. It’s just not obvious.

  3. There is no reason for the State to pick up the tab for this entire amount and Legislature should make both Dunleavy and Babcock put up some of this penalty. These two went far beyond any reasonable way to get people in policy making posts to play ball with their antics IMO. Tough noogies!

    • It’s called qualified immunity. It means government officials can’t be held personally responsible in civil cases (they can still go to jail if convicted of a crime). The net effect is when something like this happens, and it has happened more than once with our current governor, he doesn’t have to pay out of his pocket.
      QI was implemented so we could get people to work in government. Few of us would have the deep pockets to pay for our defense or for settlements in cases involving millions of dollars with such things as government contracts. QI is how things get done.
      That doesn’t mean it can’t get pretty “iffy.” I live in the Mat-Su. We have a number of white elephant projects out here that, due to QI, haven’t cost the perpetrators anything but have cost borough residents a pile. And I don’t mean a pile of elephant manure, either.

      • Neither Dunleavy nor Babcock received QI for this particular verdict-They did get QI for the verdict in Libby Bakalar trial.
        Don’t take my word for it though-look it up.
        Nothing wrong with these yahoos to try to get the State to pay for them but it is my opinion the Legislature should not approve of this attempted settlement.

        • I may have spoke too soon here as there is an opinion piece suggesting this settlement is against our Constitution and ethics laws.
          Dunleavy and Babcock are attempting to get out of paying for their screw-up here and (hopefully) they aren’t successful.

  4. Trolls are defending the nut cases who screwed up the funny farm?? The settlement is a travesty – the Governor has the right to make personnel changes when the incumbents won’t get with the program. “Settlement” just means that it is cheaper to hand the plaintiffs a pacifier than to waste time and money continuing the battle.

    • Excuse making Rich? The courts determined that dunleavy and babcock acted outside their authority. Do you condone authoritative governments when they’re your team? That’s a very slippery slope. No need to make excuses. Why don’t you pony up the dough and spare Alaskans this needless cost?

  5. I think this one needed playing out in the courts. This extended the vulnerability of any governor into the future until it does get played out. The lawyers got their share and the litigants got theirs as well; and the future office holders are still burdened with “what if” , Administration just lost a bargaining chip for all of our future governors.

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