Saturday, September 30, 2023
HomePoliticsGovernor vetoes HB 48, which would take away his hiring/pay authority

Governor vetoes HB 48, which would take away his hiring/pay authority

Alaska Gov. Michael Dunleavy has vetoed House Bill 48, legislation to reclassify state employees in temporary or special positions and take away authority given to commissioners and the governor to authorize higher pay for certain positions.

“Reaching this decision was difficult. I agree with the original intent of the bill that Representative [Tammie] Wilson brought forward. We both identified it as a change that needed to occur in our Personnel Act; I introduced the same provision in a bill I brought forward this past session.

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“What we struggled with, as we had departments look at the bill after passage, was the repeal of the valuable tool that the Executive branch may utilize in unique cases. There are certain positions in departments that require a significant amount of experience and professional qualifications, such as petroleum land managers and commercial analysts in the Department of Natural Resources, the Chief Financial Officer for Retirement and Benefits and the ChiefTechnology Officer in the Department of Administration, and the Tax Division Director in the Department of Revenue.

“On one hand, the bill fixed a significant problem. On the other hand, it eliminated a tool that is used to address the State’s ability to recruit and retain employees of the highest level of qualifications and experience. As I am not able to partially veto a bill, I have committed to working with Rep. Wilson in the future to address the use or creation of temporary or special positions.”

“HB 48 as introduced by Rep. Wilson proposed to reclassify people employed in a temporary or special position, from the exempt service to the partially exempt service. This move would require the use of statutory salary schedule, enrollment in PERS and other healthcare benefits and entitle the individual to accrue leave. 

“HB 48 was amended through the committee process and a provision was added that repealed an important tool that allowed Commissioners and the Governor to authorize a higher level of pay for certain positions where the employee must possess exceptional qualifications and professional experience, and the department can verify that recruitment difficulties exist for a certain position and that an action is warranted due to competitive salaries in the labor market. “

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
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.


  1. Yahoo! Thank you for doing your job…Gov. Dunleavy!!! Time to veto more “junk” the legislative persons have put out there to put our state in deeper debt with frivolous promises….

    • DK, this bill would have saved the State money. It would have put constraints on this Gov and future Govs from awarding their friends with overpaid fluff jobs. His excuse of limiting the ability to recruit is BS, The state has the ability to jump up 5 wage grades for applicants that are highly qualified. If jumping up 5 wage grades doesn’t make the wage competitive then the wage should be adjusted. Historically these positions aren’t filled with people that have extraordinary abilities, they’re filled with campaign workers and friends and this administration has not strayed from that practice. One would think that a guy that throws the words “fiscal responsibility” around so much he would have jumped on this. Alas this is nothing more than the same.

  2. Agreed. The governor vetoed an anti corruption measure. It’s kind of shocking he vetoed it.
    I often disagree with Wilson but I respect her — she’s an independent thinker and she’s clean.

  3. This isn’t even an authority that the Governor or any department has; using temporary exempts this way and paying them benefits is patently illegal and the State has been on notice for over a decade over this. The Governor is naïve and was taken in – again – by the congenital ‘crats. There is a provision to meet the special recruitment of special pay needs; you convince 21 and 11 of your special need and have the job added to the explicit list of exempt jobs in AS 39.25.110. Unfortunately for the ‘crats, bedwarmer isn’t a job title that the Legislature is likely to be receptive to.

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