Tshibaka attacked by Murkowski surrogates for moving expenses that were result of state rules


Forced by State of Alaska policies to use the lowest bidders, when Kelly Tshibaka returned to Alaska, her moving cost burgeoned. The lowest bidder turned out to be a rip-off, and another “lowest” bidder had to be contracted to finish the move. Then a third mover was brought in. On it went. It seemed to Tshibaka that the state procurement rules forced people to use the worst movers, who in the end proved to be the costliest. And it cost the State of Alaska some $81,000.

Tshibaka, as commissioner of the Department of Administration, worked to improve procurement processes by standardizing them throughout departments during her tenure at the Department of Administration. But the wheels of bureaucracy move slowly, and the state mostly still uses the “lowest bidder at all costs” method.

Tshibaka is now running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Lisa Murkowski. As such, all of her state records are being pulled for review by news agencies and opposition researchers. The records requests have begun, and the combing of financials. Thus, the costly move home to Alaska became an item of scrutiny for the Anchorage Daily News and the campaign of Sen. Lisa Murkowski and hostile political bloggers who don’t want to know the truth.

Mary Ann Pruitt, who is senior advisor to the Kelly for Alaska campaign, explained that Tshibaka had no choice but to use the extreme low bidder:

“State officials directed Kelly to obtain multiple moving company bids and she was required to select the lowest one, despite a moving expert’s warning that an extremely low bid was a red flag for potential fraud. Sure enough, throughout the course of the move, there were contract breaches, attempts at sudden cost increases, and refusals to abide by the terms of the contracts. As a result, movers had to be changed several times, with the lowest bid required to be chosen each time. Every step of the way, Kelly urged state officials to reform the system of awarding state contracts of this nature, recommending the use of vetted and trusted vendors, rather than automatically selecting unknown and untested companies who happened to submit the lowest bids. Doing her job as Commissioner, Kelly documented all of these failures of the contractors and reported her findings to the Attorney General’s office. Kelly Tshibaka has dedicated her career to exposing waste and fraud, has returned hundreds of millions of dollars to American taxpayers, and is always mindful of the good stewardship of public funds.”

Tshibaka told the reporter at the ADN that the mover she was forced to pick was operating fraudulently, but that was lost in the crafted narrative. Since Tshibaka left state service after working for two years for Gov. Mike Dunleavy, she is not required to pay back her moving costs, but all along the way she took meticulous notes of the problem move and also advised the state to change its procedures. All of her documentation is in the hands of the state Attorney General, where an investigation into the moving companies is ongoing.

As an inspector general and a rising star for the U.S. Postal Service, when Tshibaka moved back to Alaska to work for Dunleavy, she made a downward career move, but said it was because the state of Alaska was in trouble, and she thought she could help the new governor. Her husband, an attorney, works as an assistant commissioner in the Department of Education. The couple have five children, which explains the need for a large moving van, rather than a U-Haul truck, to get their possessions back to Alaska. The state pays for up to 15,000 pounds of household goods, plus two vehicles, storage, and things like temporary housing, and house-hunting expenses.

“Reasonable and adequate competition must be solicited when acquiring commercial moving company services. If the anticipated/actual cost is over $10,000, a minimum of three verbal quotes is required. If the anticipated/actual cost is over $50,000 a minimum of three written quotes is required. If the least expensive moving company is not used, any additional cost (over what the state would have paid) of moving personal effects will be paid by the employee unless adequate documentation that justifies using a more expensive alternative is approved, in advance, by the employee’s division director (or director’s representative),” according to the the state’s moving expense guidelines.


  1. Throw out the lowest and highest bids, then average the remaining and pick the one closest to the middle. Or will bureaucrats never learn? Aggressively prosecute those breaching terms.

  2. As much as I despise Lisa Murkowski, this situation causes me to rethink my decision on voting for Kelly Tshibaka. I realize her claim this is “not my fault.”

    But I would be absolutely floored if any mover tried to charge me $80,000. And I would be furious if any employee actually PAID that sum of money, expecting me to reimburse the ridiculous cost. To me, this demonstrates extremely poor judgment on Ms. Tshibaka’s part.

    • Did you even read the story? If not try reading it.. from the article “ “State officials directed Kelly to obtain multiple moving company bids and she was required to select the lowest one, despite a moving expert’s warning that an extremely low bid was a red flag for potential fraud.”

    • As I read this, the first mover dd not quote or charge 81,000. Nor did they fulfill all of the requirements of the move. Hence a second “lowest bid” mover was contracted, who did some of the unfulfilled obligations, but not all. Hence a third “lowest bid” mover was contracted to do the last of it. The three bills added up to $81,000. So, there was never a single quote or bill for that amount. The State could have sued the first two for breach of contract, but that would have cost way more than $81000 in lawyers’ fees.

      • Your explanation sort of makes it at least a bit less damning. And I guess I’ll vote for Tshibaka because she is “Not Murkowski.” But again, if I had a high level employee using poor judgment and wasting my money this way in the private sector….

        She had to get three bids and use the low number. But is her judgment so bad that two of the three SHE PICKED were fraudulent and the only “solution” is to press for changes so we award to the HIGH bidder in the future? Gee, what could go wrong with that?

        If I had somebody offer to pay “lowest of three,” I’d get three solid bids and be thrilled to use the most economical. If two of my three were fraudulent, it’s time to blame the person in the mirror instead of the process.

        I can find at least six decent moving companies with a 30 second Google search.

        • “But is her judgment so bad that two of the three SHE PICKED…”
          The problem here is that it was not Kelly T’s judgement. She was forced to choose the lowest bidder, regardless of whether she liked them or not.
          And, in reality, it is EXTREMELY difficult to get real ratings of moving companies. So, when you are requesting bids, you are basically flying blind. Call three companies out of the phone book, and hope for the best.
          When I moved to AK, I think I got five companies to give quotes. Two of them were so ridiculously low, I did not trust them at all. I was paying for my own move, so I could rely on my judgement. If a State or Federal agency was paying for my move, I would likely have been screwed over.
          Just like Kelly and her family were.

        • WOW!! You are so dumb!! She didn’t pick the movers the SOA procurement did, trust me I know how they work, It is 100% not her fault! Lisa M. needs to go!

        • Wow, again, did you even read the story? It’s very short, simple and rather straightforward. It almost appears as if you are being paid to purposely confuse the matter.

    • The future employee has to follow the employer’s rules. Apparently, she did. If you have never had household goods moved by a future employer, you are probably ill-equipped to understand the process. There is usually a minimum period of time the employee has to work for the employer before moving costs are forgiven. It sounds like that is exactly what she did. No harm, no foul.

    • You need to read and comprehend what was said then make your comment. Maybe you need glasses or some kind of help.

      • Suppose we had a car accident and I said “just get three bids, I’ll pay the lowest rather than filing an insurance claim.” YOU then select three acceptable vendors from DOZENS of available options, but two of the three you pick are losers (what does that say about you?). You then blame ME and the process, asserting the solution is “go with the HIGH bid to avoid problems caused by my poor judgment.”

        • AKVoter,

          Once again, YOU don’t get to choose the bids. They are chosen for you. You don’t have a say. Understand yet?

          • If this is the level of comprehending a three bid process, perhaps this person should not even be allowed to vote in the first place

    • I can clearly see you either did not read the article or can’t comprehend what was written in the article when you say ” To me, this demonstrates extremely poor judgment on Ms. Tshibaka’s part.”

      “State officials directed Kelly to obtain multiple moving company bids and she was required to select the lowest one, despite a moving expert’s warning that an extremely low bid was a red flag for potential fraud. Sure enough, throughout the course of the move, there were contract breaches, attempts at sudden cost increases, and refusals to abide by the terms of the contracts. As a result, movers had to be changed several times, with the lowest bid required to be chosen each time

    • When I moved to Alaska 15 years ago, moving my possessions here cost me $100,000. I have no idea what that would cost today. It’s nauseating that most of the anti Kelly ads are coming from McConnell’s PAC just to ensure he gets the votes to stay in power.

  3. Thanks for the “Paul Harvey rest-of-the-story”.
    I was aware of the seemingly exorbitant moving costs to the state, but have never before read/heard why they were so high.
    I hope her campaign is formulating a quick sound-bite response that will be included in the inevitable news stories defaming her for something out of her control.

    • Why?
      The state hired her. Part of the contract clearly included moving expenses and I am certain, a mandatory time frame of employment required to avoid triggering full or partial reimbursement of moving expenses to the state. Kelly is an auditor and understands the rules and followed them. It is clear the state does not have a preferred and vetted provider program for movers, unlike the armed forces. Considering how remote we are and the need to go through international borders, that’s pretty pathetic. It speaks to the bureaucracies inability to forward think.
      The one thing not clear from the article:
      Did the state reimburse her or pay the movers directly?
      If Kelly paid $81000 out of her own pocket, used the required lowest of the three bidders every time and as indicated communicated with the respective state office at every stage, she is entitled to be reimbursed. If the state paid the movers directly, even though they were in breach of contract, then that is an issue for the state to address and fix.

  4. Interesting. I managed a unique moving contract for the Army for several years. It featured several contractors who would participate on individual moves as they desired. All of the contractors were top notch. Outstanding, really. I guess that illustrates that a contract that focuses only on “cheapest” might satisfy the noisy nimrods that love to think they’re managing state resources well, but ultimately cost more than such idiots can count in the end.

  5. Yes, thank you for the rest of the story. That will take some of the wind out of her opponent’s sails.

  6. If this had been a Democrat supporter the conservative press would have done the “Benghazi” on it.

    Having said that I believe that this lady had more control over this process than what we are being told.

  7. Sorry, but she needs to reimburse the state. Resigning a short time after the deadline for requiring that is what most would do, but most people are not running for the US Senate.

    • Ever have to move for you job? With the company paying for it? I doubt it, because you would not have said two years is a short time.
      The continued work requirement is generally one year after the move. After that, the employee holds no responsibility to pay back the moving expenses.
      Not sure if that was Kelly’s contract, but odds are, it was.
      A short time? She doubled the amount of time I suspect was required.

  8. What happened to rent a U-Haul and move yourself? You touched on the other $140,000 “job” that was paid to entice her here. How can any fiscal conservative tolerate this? This isn’t new news and has been common knowledge long before any records request.
    It is so hypocritical and disappointing to see such corruption and waste happen along with defense from other so-called Republicans. Seriously – I think the term RINO is often misapplied. Who are we and how is this ok?

    • Have you priced out a self move from DC to AK, versus using a moving company?
      The difference is negligible. A few thousand, maybe, depending on how much stuff you have to move.
      And, I am pretty sure the initial cost was not $81K. It was probably more like $20-25K. Perhaps reading the story before commenting might help in the long run.

      • yeah, not sure how people are not getting that this is the cumulative of three different moving contracts, due to alleged two failed contracts. People read what they want to see

    • Just leave Kelly alone, we need Lisa out. Sure she’s not perfect, but neither are you arm chair quarterbacks. Don’t throw stones out of glass houses.

    • Having done multiple moves even internationally, your “hey just get a U-Haul and do it yourself” doesn’t wash. We are not talking a guy fresh out of college with a bed, dresser and hotplate. Organizing a move for 7 people plus all their stuff is no easy feat and in the end between truck rentals, packing materials, guys to help pack and load, gas, hotels, food the bill will most likely be not much less. This is also not how you treat a professional executive. The fact that multiple contract were required to finish the job and the added costs of hiring new movers, was not foreseeable. The state should have a better program, maybe the military can help them set one up.

  9. Did anyone in the admin have a problem with the cost? Seems to me to be more waste among a group of people (the state) that only abhors waste when it serves their purpose to do so. She didn’t pocket the money, raised objections, and worked to reform the process once in. She took notes of all this, so probably realized the left and establishment might at some point take issue (since they can’t make any legitimate policy arguments) with it.

    Bring on the slimy political types to cast aspersions and slander this woman.. you know, the usual characters..

  10. How often does Lisa and her house husband fly to their vacation homes in other states and countries (Mexico) at the expense of taxpayers?
    Since 2002? Since 1980, with Frank and Nancy?
    After 42 years of this Murkowski nonsense, Alaska needs a change. We are voting for Kelly Tshibaka. Please join us.

    • Lisa used taxpayers money to relocate and hide Nancy and I here at lonely Petersburg, with all of these stuffy Norwegians. After awhile we get kind of tired of fish and booze every night.

  11. I support Mrs. Tshibaka 100%
    I’m sure she will save our state far more than $80k just by moving here, and winning the Senate seat.
    I don’t know about chyall, but I for one am glad to have her.
    Lisa, however …. is cold hearted.
    …. and You know it.

  12. Uhg! So annoying Democrats need to stop arguing over something they think they own, when they care-less how much the state and
    Anchorage spends.

  13. Uhmmm! Lisa and her smear campaigns!
    Pull memory out of butts! Who do you think pays for Lisa? And her terms In Office? We do the tax’s payers! Give me a break! I’ll pay for Kelly I already pay for Lisa and her cronies! Hey Mitch! And we been paying for years!

  14. Uhg! So annoying Democrats need to stop arguing over something they think they own, when they care less how much the state and
    Anchorage spends from their own party elect.

  15. Most government employees who moved up here twenty years ago were costing taxpayers $110,000. $81,000 is a low figure.

  16. yeah I’m sure the state rules on moving expense sucks but why is the state importing swamp creatures at the expense of oil revenue. she could have paid for her own move if she really wanted to be back up here and in that case I’m sure she would have lightened the load of what she was moving like most regular people (not politicians)do when they move from or to AK.
    just goes to show how fiscally conservative Kelly really is she spends tax dollars just as recklessly as the anyone from her home in D.C. does

  17. It is not only the moving expense that makes no sense. How about the Governor creating a job for her husband at state expense?

  18. I’m voting for Kelly because Lisa is destroying Alaska’s economy, voting for Liberal Judges in high places, underming the Republican Party Policies, and Trump. And Commenters here are Wetting themselves over a professional movers fee, that she had no controll of. No wonder we have a DEMOCRAT CONGRESSMAN with a 60% Republican majority. I am amazed at how foolish our State, and Republican Party are.Just SHUT UP ABOUT THE DAMN MOVING FEE, and vote for Kelly because she is the ONLY ALTERNATIVE to Lisa. Oh you could vote for Chesbro because Kelly is a lousy mover, like 26,000 highly principaled Republican voters did for Mary Peltola. I feel like I’m living in a world of Anchorage School District graduates.

  19. The lowest bidder, like most government funding rules, is a scam. It’s a way of protecting certain vendors from competition. Lowest price often means lowest quality. It allows agencies to act as if they are being fiscally responsible while being anything but.

    More, the rules are ridiculously easy to get around. Just make sure a vendor you really want to use puts in something no other vendor can. Just like magic they get the bid, regardless of value or price.

  20. I’ve talked with many people, some left leaning, and all agree this is just election season muck raking. Many realize the funding for all the ads are from out of state. Such a waste of money, $81K seems like a drop in the bucket.

  21. Didn’t we have a Democrat legislator from western Alaska who moved his wife’s piano and car from Nome to Juneau every legislative session for years. Wonder what that cost the State? Don’t remember the media getting their panties in a wad over that!

    • Fishing for Food,
      If the above is true, it would mean a cost of about $26,000 Nome to Anchorage and back each year freighted in a C-130. Anchorage to Juneau would be far less given that the Kennicott sails from South Central Ports to Southeast for the legislature every year.

    • Good memory! I seem to remember an ADN article about Donny Olson charging the state $20,000 over 2 years to move stuff between Nome and Juneau…..
      He is still in office and I do not know if he ever reimbursed the state for moving, pianos, cars, etc……

  22. Who gives a damn about Kelly’s moving expenses? Obviously if this is all that the Mitch / Lisa camp have it tells me that this Kelly woman must be pretty clean.

    BTW, my kid even as a lowly United States Marine Lance Corporal, fresh out of MCRD back in ’08 got his stuff, including his car shipped from Alaska to Hawaii when he had orders to join the Third Marines, all paid for by the Government. I recall that the cost of moving his junk exceeded the value of his Lexus! Who does that with their own money?

    The summation of all of this is… Lisa and Joe got to Go! Unless you like Inflation, Kowtowing to the CHI-COMS, Wars, Higher Taxes, Crippled Domestic Energy Production, Draconian Government Medical Mandates, Supreme Court Justice nominees who cannot define what a woman is, then you have only one option…VOTE Kelly.
    Moving expenses be DAMNED!

  23. WOW…this is the worst charge the Murkowski campaign can come up with against their opponent??? Really?
    Let’s see the baggage on the Lisa side by comparison! Voted against conservative judges, is pro-abortion, and is no longer considered a “republican” by the party. Hmmmm… boy, I dunno who to vote for???? (hint: vote for Kelly!)

    • How about the sweetheart land deal that Murkowski had with one of her biggest political supporters, land developer Bob Penney? She had to back away from that investment after the public outcry became too much for even her entitled personality.

      • I agree with your post about Lisa and Bob Penny and Gov Mike tried to create a post for his grandson for big bucks. What about the state and municipal jobs created for Kelly’s husband ? Guess no local person qualifies or needs to apply.

  24. You are right. I do now remember the dirty land deal how she finagle it and got caught. That was back in the time when a lot of people would’ve loved to of had a piece of land on the Kenai and they were refused and then all of a sudden they got excepted. So glad she was forced to drop out but I can’t remember what happened to Bob Penny on that

  25. If this is the worst thing the Swamp Rats can dig up on Kelly, then she is alright in my book. Their desperation shows.

  26. You can tell Murkowski is using outside money to make the anti-Kelly ads because the “fish” in the picture they are using is a bass, not native to Alaska !!

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