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Tuesday, December 11, 2018
HomePolitics and PolicyLayoffs? About the same as last administration

Layoffs? About the same as last administration

SOME QUIT EARLY, DURING A DISASTER

With Gov. Mike Dunleavy taking office at 12:01 pm on Monday, dozens of people were laid off from mainly upper-level management positions with the old administration.

It was “situation normal” for a transition. Some people were kept, such as Janice Mason, the scheduler for the governor, who served under Gov. Sean Parnell and Gov. Bill Walker, handling their scheduling needs. She’s as close to the heat as one can get in politics, but she was retained. Tara Fradley, who manages the Anchorage office, was said to be retained, although she may move into a different capacity.

Others, such as commissioners, were released from service. The old chief of staff is gone, and a new one has taken over.

The mainstream media reacted as if it was a Monday afternoon massacre.

But in fact, just 95 state workers were let go.

When Bill Walker became governor in 2014, that number was 90.

But the mainstream media had little curiosity about the layoffs back then. It was not a story because it is a normal condition. Why it’s a story now? Β The media has revealed its bias by choosing to focus on the number of people, but not what happened in the last days of the Walker Administration.

[Read the Anchorage Daily News report that we are referring to here.]

What was not normal is that two of the top public safety officers in the state — the heads of Public Safety and Corrections — quit their posts early, in the middle of a declared disaster.

TOP COP

Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan and Deputy Commissioner Bill Comer quit their jobs on Friday in the middle of the biggest emergency the state has faced since the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake. The 7.0 earthquake that hit just after the start of business was a major safety concern.

Rather than stay on their jobs through the weekend and until the end of the Walker Administration on Monday, they called it quits on Friday. The earthquake aftermath would not be their problem over the weekend.

They left in charge the acting head of the State Troopers, Andrew Greenstreet, who by all counts is a competent leader. He stayed on the job and no-doubt had his hands full.

TOP JAILER

Commissioner of Corrections Dean Williams also left early. Williams quit immediately after the earthquake, choosing to not work through the weekend to secure damaged prisons and other corrections facilities.

Williams left Acting Deputy Commissioner Jacob Wyckoff in charge. Wyckoff was then said to leave for Hawaii on a planned vacation.

Meanwhile, several of the corrections facilities in Southcentral sustained significant damage. Some may need to be closed.

And yet, those jobs are not truly vacant. They are filled by acting commissioners who have stepped in after the commissioners quit early.

TOP LAWYER

The former Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth tendered her resignation effective noon on Monday. The person in charge became Ed Sniffen, who was Deputy Attorney General and now serves as acting attorney general until someone new is named. The top position is not empty, as stated by the ADN.

Lindemuth was attorney general for the past 18 months. Before that, Craig Richards was AG for Walker. Gov. Sean Parnell also had two attorneys general — first was Dan Sullivan, followed by Michael Geraghty, who served for two years.

ANNOUNCEMENTS ON WEDNESDAY

Gov. Mike Dunleavy will announce the new commissioners for Public Safety, Corrections and the new Attorney General on Wednesday at about 11 am. Check back with Must Read Alaska for the details. These are the final cabinet appointments to be made.

On Monday, Dunleavy announced that Doug Vincent-Lang is the new commissioner of Fish and Game.

800 “exempt” or “partially exempt” employees were asked to send in their letters of resignation, and to indicate if they wanted to keep serving in the new administration. All but about 30 submitted their letters before the deadline on Friday.

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Written by

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

  • As far as many of us are concerned, YOU are the new mainstream media, Suzanne. I dont read the ADN, FDNM, or JE anymore. All garbage. Same ol’ left wing reporters, getting older and less wise. You seem to have better insight than those rags, and now, better “inside” too.

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  • Such a knee jerk reaction by the media, you and I both know that changes happen and indeed must happen when new leadership takes over. I am disgusted that some of our State’s leaders would actually walk away in a time of emergency. These positions are more that jobs, they are the “lead dog” of the team driving the State. I trust those that are appointed will carefully consider the privilege of those positions. I know that I did.

  • Well, the private citizens and the folks who manned the radio, really made a safer Alaska during the earthquake.

    Lifesaving news was shared fast and and with enough detail to make a difference. Sustained by movie theatre popcorn working over time they became the connection between enstar, government , road management, animal control, parents and schools , emergency shelter…those people stood tall as did the citizens helping and caring about each other.

    To learn 5days later that key position persons quit and turned their backs during a crisis we paid to train them to handle all I can say is

    Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan

    Deputy Commissioner Bill Comer

    Commissioner of Corrections Dean Williams

    When alaskans stood tall your character was exposed…but we did not need you you were not missed. We did not even know you were gone because the true workers worked.

  • John Burns also served as AG under Parnell

  • Now knowing the depth of the “Deep State” in our federal government, I think that it was prudent of Governor Elect Dunleavy to ask for all appointed state employees to send a letter of resignation. Governor Dunlevey needs to know that these employees want to be onboard with his administration’s direction and not fighting the flow from the inside.

  • Walt Monegan of the AK State Troopers is a true coward. A big man only when 20 officers are near him. His only sense of civic duty to Alaskans during an emergency is to pick up his last paycheck. I’d rather be in a foxhole with Barney Fife.

  • Until I read this article I had no idea those two resigned in the midst of our emergency. In my opinion they are cowards and this disgusting move should haunt them in their careers for the foreseeable future.

    So dedicated, were they, to the safety of our communities that they slithered away on their bellies when crises emerged.

    On the flip side it just goes to show that their previous departments worked really well without them.

    Thanks to those who stepped up and did what was right.

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