Borrowing a page from President Trump’s playbook, Gov. Bill Walker’s Chief of Staff Scott Kendall took to Twitter on Thursday to upbraid the Senate Majority.
Kendall ordered Sen. Majority Leader Peter Micciche to put $4.5 million back into the Department of Public Safety budget.
The governor in December had proposed a $34 million increase to public safety. The Senate, however, chose to trim that increase by 2.5 percent and instead spend more money on trooper salaries. That would mean the governor’s budget increase would come down to about $30 million more than FY18. But the money shows up elsewhere in the budget.
Still, Kendall ordered the Senate majority to “Grow up and put the funds back. Now.”
Kendall, an unelected functionary, might not have done his boss any favors in trying to start a Twitter war, an area of social media best left to experts, er, like the president.
And he might have wanted to hold his powder for a few more days; the Senate had just starting its work on the budget, having received it from the House only a day earlier.
“It appears he’s taken his legislative communication strategy straight from the White House,” one Juneau aide noted, but is doing so as an unelected functionary without the stature of the chief executive.
Sen. Peter Micciche said increases for public safety were rearranged as a result of a key trooper retention study completed in November that noted the difficulty the department is having keeping troopers. Keeping troopers saves money, because every new trooper hired costs the state administrative and training costs in excess of $80,000.
The senator said the first priority is to ensure that Alaska can compete for and retain the men and women in blue, so he added pay increases for them in the Dept. of Administration budget, and trimmed the governor’s proposal elsewhere.
Note to Micciche: Kendall is in full campaign mode again and no good deed will go unpunished by the Walker Administration which, judging by Kendall’s intemperate tweet, is itching for a fight with the appropriating body of the government.