Walker Administration embedding appointees into classified positions - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, September 20, 2021
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Walker Administration embedding appointees into classified positions

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THE BURROWING BEGINS FROM THE TOP

Grace Jang, the governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, will be flying to Juneau this week, Must Read Alaska has learned, in order to embed Walker’s political employees into the classified, nonpolitical positions open in State government.

With just six weeks to go until nearly all political appointees lose their jobs on Dec. 3, Jang will be helping Walker Administration political appointees stay on. It’s called burrowing.

They may have to accept less pay and less prestige, but a paycheck is a paycheck, and many of them will be covered by union contracts, if they can find a spot. The hiring freeze hasn’t been enforced since the day it was announced in 2016.

A classified position, however, has a process, with personnel rules, and most of those jobs take time to fill.

If Jang farms someone out to an agency in an exempt position, that usually only lasts for a while.

If Walker’s functionaries try to game the system and shove people into jobs for which they are not qualified, they may bump up against disgruntled personnel managers who report them.

But they have two extra weeks to try to help these workers keep jobs that they need to pay rent, feed their families, and make their car payments. There are 42 days left until the new administration takes over.

The maneuvering is fairly easy to detect in this day and age. Bruce Botelho, who provided transition services for the Walker Administration in 2014-2015, was able to eradicate nearly every exempt employee who had ever been near a Republican.

Not counting the support staff, about 25-35 people will need to find new work. Including the regional offices, the turnover could be as high as 60.

A staff meeting for the Governor’s Office is scheduled for Friday to discuss re-jobbing.

For those in Juneau, finding other employment is difficult because it’s a town with one major employer — the State of Alaska. But the exempt employees are spread across the state in Anchorage, Mat-Su, Fairbanks, and also in Washington, D.C.

If Mark Begich is elected, many of those workers may remain, although they may be shuffled to new jobs.

For example, Leslie Ridle, commissioner of the Department of Administration, is a close ally of Begich; she was his chief of staff when he was a senator.

Within hours of Gov. Walker announcing on Friday that he was not running for re-election, Ridle changed her Facebook profile picture to include a pitch for Begich, and likely she has been in conversation with him about a new role:

In addition, Must Read Alaska has learned that the Governor’s Office staff and exempt employees in departments will be traveling to rural Alaska extensively over the next two weeks and will use the travel time to campaign for Begich on or off state time.

Must Read Alaska will be pulling travel records to monitor how state dollars are being spent in the coming weeks.

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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

  • Political graft, to be sure.

  • So much for the “courage” and “honor” of the soon to be former Governor. And his staff.

  • Let the brown nosing begin. It’s the shape-shifting at the director level – the jockeying to keep their jobs – pretending to be R’s or D’s that cracks me up. They all write their resignation letters along with their plea to stay on board, explaining how fabulous they are, outlining all the great things they do for Alaska. It is fun but also nauseating to watch. My sincere hope is Dunleavy wins, and when he takes the reins, he cuts the head off the snake all the way down past the directors that were Walker appointees (some are hold-overs back to the Palin administration and older). Every last one of them. Can’t trust any of them. Drain the swamp!

  • Deepening the Deep State in the state government. Wouldn’t these repositioned folks be on probation for a few months or a year?

  • A question for Art Chance…
    .
    If “burrowers” can’t be fired outright, management has the right to change their job descriptions to paper-clip counting, relocate them to Adak, then abolish their jobs, no?

  • For sure Art, can you chime in with your brilliance on this one? 6-month probation on these folks? Don’t they have to advertise for any of these positions? Are these just some stale PCN’s laying-in-wait for just for this burrowing purpose? Gawd. The poor folks that are already in these divisions that have to work with these rodents when they come on board. I have witnessed it before. They come in with their pretentious halos. It’s so lovely. They usually don’t last long.

  • I see the typical Neanderthal positions that oftentimes accompany your articles-namely the partisan positions that those from the dark side are nauseating, brown-nosing, etc..
    In some cases political appointees come from classified State positions and, I believe, those individuals are covered to return to their former positions.
    I can just hear the groans and other ideas, like Morrigan, calling for the ability to be able to abolish such positions-because “freedoms”??

    • Tough call when the parasites/burrowers are cute and cuddly and look like us…
      .
      You’re right, “freedoms” from metastatic bureaucracy is like a great idea, especially if the ability to make it happen already exists.

    • “Political patronage is the dispensation of favours or rewards such as public office, jobs, contracts, subsidies, prestige or other valued benefits by a patron (who controls their dispensation) to a client”.

      ” In some cases political appointees come from classified State positions and, I believe, those individuals are covered to return to their former positions”.
      What a wonderful system! You go out and raise a candidate, say, $100k and you have job for life! “are covered “? You bet!

  • There is a Director for DOL LSS who got the job from the Walker Admin because she went to DC and testified for the IBEW to Congress for the Obama Care bill. Of course the DOL Commissioner got her job as because she was a lawyer for Unions.

  • I guess this is why there are so many funded, unfilled state positions. “Ghost Jobs”

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