Hollis French report: Chronic, unexplained absences - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, October 23, 2019
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Hollis French report: Chronic, unexplained absences

GOVERNOR PLACES OIL AND GAS CHIEF ON LEAVE

A hearing officer has determined that Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Chairman Hollis French was indeed chronically absent from his job and that his absenteeism “had a deleterious affect on office morale, employees and staff and caused a reallocation of work away from Commissioner French and to others.”

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has placed French on administrative leave, with pay. Not all of the charges against French were found to have merit, but there were enough that the governor must now decide if he should simply dismiss him.

In Petumenos’ report, Petemunos said the commission’s work was not delayed or affected in any material way because the other commissioners chose to cover for French by doing his work for him.

“While the notes/journal/diary contain some errors, the document presents substantial evidence that the overall pattern of Commissioner French’ s presence in the offices of AGOCC was perennially and significantly less than a full day. Leave slips did not account for these absences, which were more norm than the exception,” Petumenos wrote.

“Testifying witnesses presented by the State from the offices of the AOGCC agreed that Commissioner French’s absences had a deleterious affect on morale, showed poor leadership and created tension within the office. Witnesses from the office stated that workload was affected by Commissioner French’s absences such that others had to take on more responsibility. The Hearing Officer finds that Commissioner French routinely was absent from Commission offices for substantial parts of the normal workday and that this affected morale at the office, constituted poor leadership and resulted in reallocation

In other words, French was taking a paycheck from the State of Alaska, but not working. The other two commissioners kept things on track while French’s whereabout were unknown. They could not assume that they’d get relief in a complaint to the former governor, who appointed French to pay him back for a political favor. So they waited, and documented his offenses.

[Read: Where in the world is Hollis French?]

Ultimately, when Gov. Dunleavy was elected, the two other commissioners wasted no time in filing a complaint about French’s complete disregard for his duties.

On the other hand, the charge that French was browbeating the other commissioners was found to be lacking evidence. The hearing officer said that French was forceful in his opinions, but that didn’t constitute grounds for removal. Other complaints from the two oil and gas commissioners against French also didn’t stick.

But the charge that French violated security measures did seem to concern the hearing officer. French revealed the location of well data to a reporter, and later to a law student. French didn’t dispute that he revealed the safe where the well data was hid, and his action prompted the other two commissioners to write more specific rules about revealing locations of sensitive information.

The other two commissioners ended up moving the safe to another location without informing French, who only discovered it was moved when he again was revealing the safe to someone, which is when French discovered the safe had been moved.

In all, the report indicates that the governor has enough grounds to remove French from his position. It’s just a matter of him deciding whether he should do so.

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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.

Latest comments

  • Fire the guy, I am surprised he is still on the job,

  • I have to wonder if this is just a fluff position that allows for political payback but not much else. As I recall, Sarah Palin used to hold this position. If Governor Dunleavy was serious about cutting government, this might be a good position to look to eliminate.

    • I agree. This position, along with hundreds more, are political buddies that are given six figure jobs for sychopantic suckassery. Acting surprised that Hollis isn’t at work and does not contribute anything is dumb. The job description for a plethora of rent-a-friends is exactly the same for both sides.

      Every politician has their minions that get them elected,and help them stay in office. To the victor go the spoils.

      French needs to wave a white flag, surrender to the victorious right,and start finding some other do nothing job. I know several non-profits that can use political has beens for back slapping. Easy work and big bucks indeed…..

  • Fire the guy and eliminate the position. His work was getting done by his subordinates and peers, so it appears his position was unnecessary.

  • Chronic. That’s code, folks. Substance abuse? The bottle? Could be both. The Frenchman needs help. API is still open for business. Mallott needs a new roomate.

  • To the Governor: Eliminate the position, due to duplication with other positions. Have only one position or eliminate all of them and add the work to the Department of Natural Resources for the state where it should have been in the first place. That is where this office needs to be placed, not in LA-LA Land and somewhere else in the State of Alaska. Walker was about Fraud, Waste and Abuse. The governor needs to move the problems or get rid of the problems that Walker represented. This was only one of many. Since we haven’t seen hide nor hair of Walker, did he volunteer to check in at API?

    • Diana, word on the street is that the old Walker Administration is holding all future reunions at API. In house, meaning attendance is mandatory.

  • Before Gunny gets his walking papers, if he hasn’t already, they need to have him submit his leave slips (or reduce his final paycheck) by the hours he stole from the State of Alaska. It is called time card fraud in the rest of the business world.

    .
    If the other 2 Commissioners were able to cover it, seems 3 Commissioners isn’t that necessary? I can’t really speak to what happens there but they have 3 Commissioners; 6 Administrative Staff; 6 Petroleum Engineers; 3 Petroleum Geologists; 6 Petroleum Instpectors and 1 IT guy. That is quite a payroll! And the Chair is always a political gift position and the current Gov., (who I support) will do the same, unless he sees the pork here and does a little slicing.

  • Walker/Mallet was about FRAUD, WASTE and ABUSE with kindness! The best act yet on record for Walker/Mallet was the 60 million dollar gift to Transcanada on top of the 500 million dollar commitment they acquired at the beginning of their contract. That office opened up after Walker to promoted gift giving to Asia, Iran or China or whoever. In one of his speeches, he said he was working on the project in phases but no one knew which phase he was in passing out the millions of dollars and reciting that “it’s necessary to get your fiscal house in order.” I thought that was kindness in full force. Now China can hardly wait to meet Gov. Dunleavy after Trump is done with them “critters!”

  • Stolen Valor………….’nuff said about this commie pinko POS!

  • I hope that that this is justthe beginning of cleaning up all this waste and abuse . I have seen it in other government agency’s . I think it would be very easy to cut a billion dollars out of budget with out much effect on services . A lot of Fat and expenses that are not needed . Fairbanks has some of highest utility rates in US and keep going up . Need to clean that mess and corruption up as well . We are a producer state and all we are pruning is a bunch of far retirements and big fat paychecks

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