State workers using ‘all-employee’ emails to organize rally


[Update: The Commissioner of Administration has issued a notice to State employees regarding the misuse of state time and equipment. It is at the bottom of this story.]

Some Alaska State workers today are using their all-employee email lists to get coworkers out to a noon rally today. They’re doing so on state government equipment and during the work day.

A note from Bradley Johnson, of the Department of Revenue, has been making the rounds. It tells state workers to join him on the picket line over the lunch hour:

As that note made its way around the 20,000 state workforce, responses came in, including one from Anna Ramirez at the Department of Health and Social Services, who said in all caps: “TOGETHER WE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE – UNITED WE STAND, UNITED WE FIGHT!! And a special thanks to BRADLEY JOHNSON for his courage at the union meeting Wednesday…” Erika Burkhouse in the Department of Administration forwarded the note.

An entirely different response came from a Department of Corrections worker, Thomas Leonard, who told the group to stop emailing him about non-state business.

The workers passing the note around are flouting state ethics laws that prohibit using “”State time, equipment, property or facilities for their own personal or financial benefit or for partisan political purposes.”

Under some administrations, this is an offense that would lead to disciplinary action or termination. Examples of misuse of official position are shown below, from the State’s ethics explainer:

Since the emails in question are generally aligned with the Gov. Walker’s political goals, it seems unlikely that we will see disciplinary action under the Walker Administration even though there is a clear violation of state ethics law here.

Update: Sheldon Fisher, the Commissioner of Administration issued a memo to all State employees regarding the  events described above: