Walker's chief of staff brings his wrecking ball to committee hearing - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, December 16, 2019
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Walker’s chief of staff brings his wrecking ball to committee hearing

SCOTT KENDALL USED HEARSAY TO DESTROY PUBLIC SAFETY COMMISSIONER

In House State Affairs Committee today, former Gov. Bill Walker’s chief of staff pilloried the reputation of Department of Public Safety Commissioner nominee Amanda Price.

Pulling no punches, Scott Kendall described her as chronically absent, untrustworthy, and a plagiarist.

When asked if he would vote for her confirmation, he said, unequivocally, no.

The committee, which was chaired on Thursday by Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, took invited testimony from Kendall, who called in from Anchorage.

Kendall said he had heard things about Price when he came on board as chief of staff, and they were not flattering. She was absent a lot, he said. Someone said she plagiarized, he said.

In fact, there was a lot of “they said” in his testimony.

But it was all hearsay.

“I was approached by many staff…” he said. “I was told…”

“It was described to me thus…” he continued.

“To the best of my recollection…”

“I have not seen details…”

“In both instances it was conveyed to me…”

“I absolutely would not vote to confirm Ms. Price, Kendall said. He said the joke around the office is you could find Price at Nordstrom or “has someone checked the milk carton in the fridge?”

It wasn’t long after he came on board when he gave her the choice to quit or be fired. He told the committee that her description of the parting of ways — a deep policy difference over SB 91 — was “100 percent false.”

After Kendall ended his testimony, the committee heard from Price’s former supervisor, Deputy Chief of Staff Marcia Davis, who said she was “just deeply disappointed” at Kendall’s testimony, and proceeded to contradict his every point.

In passionate testimony, she described Price as a hardworking firebrand who went out to shake up the status quo regarding sexual assault, get the state’s rape kits processed, and help people resolve problems they were having with the criminal justice system.

Amanda Price

As for plagiarism, “For  God’s sakes!” Marcia Davis said. The goal of policy people is to “be quick, be fast, be accurate. We are not writing literature here, folks. We are trying to inform and educate people. She was pushing information to the right people.” Lots of information in government is cut-and-paste, she said, not intended to be taken as original writing. It’s just information.

Davis said Price was always on the go, and if she wasn’t where her calendar said she’d be, it’s because she was putting out fires for the governor somewhere in the public safety sector.

Davis also described the culture of the Walker offices as toxic, with a lot of petty backbiting. These were issues she was trying to address, and after describing the “cheap shots” atmosphere, she testified about her endeavors to get the staff working more productively.

But that cheap-shot culture must have continued after she left, she said, if Kendall’s testimony was to be believed.

Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins cut Davis off twice during her testimony. She was not giving the Democrat-led committee the testimony they wanted.

Neither did former Chief of Staff Jim Whitaker, who earlier gave Price positive reviews to the committee.

But complications are ahead for Kendall. As a practicing attorney, has opened up a can of legal worms.

Amanda Price never waived her rights under the State’s Personnel Act. And while Kendall requested an executive session for the committee hearing today, that request was denied by the committee chair. He chose to testify anyway.

Has Kendall now waived his own right to declare executive privilege about other exempt personnel matters in the Walker Administration?

At any time, a committee may now request Kendall’s testimony or subpoena him about other Walker personnel matters.

Would, for instance, he be able to claim executive privilege if asked about the circumstances surrounding the resignation of former Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott? Would he be able to claim executive privilege if asked about former political director John Henry-Heckendorn’s duties and whether they overlapped with those of a campaign manager? Kendall has put himself in peril.

In addition, a unique part of Alaska’s Constitution is Alaskans’ right to privacy. Did Kendall forget when he gave his free-wheeling testimony today? 

Kendall has also risked his career over these allegations. If proven not to be true, he may have imperiled his bar license, and even be liable for monetary damages for defamation. An ethics complaint could be filed against him at the Alaska Bar.

Price may have some grounds for a civil lawsuit she could file against Kendall for violating her constitutional right to privacy. Other people who work or worked for Kendall may also have serious concerns about their own rights being trampled by their former supervisor.

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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

  • Wonder why the boys seem so worried about Amanda…
    .
    Only two things excite them, money and (their perception of) dominance…
    .
    A non-Establishment lady public safety commissioner may threaten both…
    .
    And that can’t be allowed to happen…

  • Democrats make terrible losers. They never let go, and if they had their way, they’d never allow everyone else who voted for positive change in Alaska to move forward.

    Amanda Price is a fighter, and from everything I’ve seen thus far, she seems like a very decent person. She was certainly not deserving of Mr. Kendall’s child-like hissy fit.

    But I’m not surprised, what else should we expect of a Bill Walker alumni?

  • This is an all around ridiculous circumstance. Kendall should not have done this. However, it’s just as ridiculous that Price is the nominee for Public Safety Commissioner.

    • Price is a far more effective Commissioner than Monegan 2nd edition was. Under the previous administration many of us thought Walker’s DPS Deputy Commish Comer actually called the shots in DPS. Comer, by the way, was the Valdez police chief…ring a bell for anyone?

      Most of DPS’ retention issues can be put squarely on the Walker administration and the team he selected for DPS leadership positions during his tenure. They are gone now, thank goodness, and things are improving under the present leadership team.

  • When Walker’s former chief of staff hates you enough to slander your reputation with hearsay I take that as a positive recommendation.

  • Lots of inbreeding from the old Walker Administration. That’s why these looney Democrats have all of the hate on their plates. Genetic disturbances seem to flow from the Demwits.

    Scott Kendall is married to Rep. Grier Hopkins’ sister. Grier Hopkins (Fairbanks Democrat) is the nephew of former legislator David Guttenberg (Fairbanks Democrat), who now has his uncle’s House seat. David Guttenberg is the brother of Elise Guttenberg who is married to Luke Hopkins (former Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor). Luke, a wild-eyed Left winger, ran unsuccessfully against Senator John Coghill for his state Senate seat. Tammie Wilson ran against Luke Hopkins for FNSB Mayor in 2009, but she was defeated. Hopkins and Wilson still feud over wood smoke issues in Wilson’s House district. Grier Hopkins serves with Tammie Wilson in state House. Got all that?
    One big incestuous family affair with the Hopkins. All radical Lefties trying to make Alaska a collectivist state. IDIOTS! Our Public Safety Commissioner should not be afraid or intimidated by these Lefty hicks.

    • thanks for the genealogy, very informative. what a web the lefties weave!

      • Geez, this sounds like a story suitable for the investigative journalism of Dermot and Terrence Cole. Another book, maybe. Or, are the Coles related to them too?

        • What? Alaska’s alleged “top historian” and “top investigative reporter” (the midget Cole twins) on this Scott Kendall story? Only if they receive some under the table “writer’s grease” from the Democrat Party and a one-year gift supply of whiskey from the Brown Jug. That might move em.

          • The Brown Jug must have made some big sales to the Cole twinnies (Dermot and Terrence) last night. The far Lefty writers resurrected some 40-year old letters that Gov. Jay Hammond had written to Dick Randolph regarding repeal of the Alaska state income tax.
            What the Coles DIDN’T mention in their Lefty tirade is that Dick Randolph did more for Alaskans as a House member than Jay Hammond did as governor. But what else would you expect from a couple of old troll writers who’s favorite travels in Alaska are down to the local package stores. [See FDNM 4/16/19 Editorial page A4].

          • Interesting to see the continuing saga of “rage” between the midget Coles and the Father of Alaska’s income tax repeal. Normally, a common courtesy would suggest that the Colesy twins pay a bit more respect to their elders. Dick Randolph is 85 yo. But since the Coles both look about 102, I’d say it’s a fair scrap.

          • The Living Dead and the Dying Living

    • Thanks, Ear. I wonder if the Hopkins Tribe sits around and tokes up every night? It’s a game the entire, extended family can play.

    • Great script…
      .
      Get a decent cast of actors, you might have an HBO series…

      • I heard it even gets better. Luke Hopkins was given special appointment by Gov. Walker to the Alaska Gasline Development Corp Board, even though Hopkins was extremely unqualified. Then, after two months of laughable service to the Board, Hopkins resigned [See MRAK article (5/20/16). Hopkins appointment can be traced to Jim Whitaker, Walker’s Chief of Staff at the time, and predecessor of Hopkins as FNSB mayor. Whitaker resigns as COS under tenuous circumstances and high-tails it for AZ, helping put Scott Kendall in place as the subsequent and unqualified new COS to Walker. So, is this the Fairbanks mafia attempting to get even with Dunleavy and his new deputies? The readers can decide. This side-show of derelict Democrats from Fairbanks (including former Gov Walker) makes the Byron Mallott scandal look in other ways……normal.

        • It looks like Scott Kendall picked a “great family” to get connected with. Thanks for finally getting them outed, Scott. You have served Alaska well.

          • Well, this family certainly doesn’t need the PFD. With all of them working for the government or getting govt retirement benefits, they could open their own bank.

          • I see where the Cole twins are cranking up the heat in the Fairbanks newspaper, trying their doggone best to protect their Left-wing readers from becoming disenfranchised and irrelevant in the new era of Dunleavy. Ha. The Coles are now heavily challenged by the bigger gun, SUZANNE and MRAK. Luvin it!!!!

          • In Terrence and Dermot Cole’s little minds, THEY are the best. Even if two Coles against one Suzanne, I’d bet heavy on Suzanne. The Coles use no original body of work. The work and research was already performed by others. Coles just regurgitate into print and add flowery rage. Suzanne opens doors and let’s in the tornado.

          • A guest writer in the FDNM referred to Dermot and Terrence Cole as “two smart, funny, focused people who have contributed to Alaska in a multitude of ways…..and appreciate their positive engagement in our civic life.” [See FDNM 4/18/19. page A4].
            Say what?
            The Coles are anything but positive to the majority of folks. They incessantly write and preach Left-wing rhetoric and are extremely and openly combative and derogatory to alternative viewpoints. Both Coles have made their living by spreading political hate and Lefty revisionist history to the public. The extremists of the Left are all in with the Coles. The rest of us, the majority, see right through them. They have spread hate, panic, fear, and untruths for so many years that their own health issues have finally caught up with them.

    • Hey, it’s about time someone pointed that out. That’s the problem with the “small state” thing. I probably wouldn’t be as interested in Alaska politics if it weren’t for my own familial ties. As far as the Hopkins clan is concerned, I’m worried that the poisonous culture among the FNSB rank-and-file, which flourished during the Hopkins and Kassel administrations, is going to continue unabated under Bryce Ward. Don’t forget that his campaign did take significant sums of union money.

  • There are too many legal issues to meaningfully discuss here. Although numerous, they may not amount to much that is actionable. The greatest damage may be to Mr. Kendall’s reputation. Few may want to take him seriously after this performance. Testimony works out best for everyone when a person speaks to what they KNOW to be a fact. Almost everything else is a waste of time. Mr. Kendall appears to be unaware of this reality.

  • No wonder Bill Walker left his governorship in disgrace and Byron Mallott disappeared forever. Former chief of staff Kendall is one dumb lawyer and must have been giving poor advice to the governor. Wonder where this Kendall guy went to law school? Must have been the school that advertises off the back end of a box of matches. This idiot should lose his law license and never practice law. DISBAR!

    • He was a product of UAA outreach. He shoulda went into education

  • JMARK, I’m with you on this one. That is the first thing that came to my mind when I read this. What in the world is Scott Kendall doing? First of all, why are they dragging in people from a disgraced, past administration to disparage this person on items that “should” be private? And, second, it was all gossip with nothing that appeared backed up with documented fact. Watercooler stuff. Really Scott? The Alaska Legislative left looks exactly like what is happening on the national level. It is disgusting. What should be a fairly straight forward confirmation (or not) of a Commissioner, has turned into kabuki theater for the liberals to act like idiots. What a time suck. If you don’t want her, just say NO. You don’t have to have to through all this embarrassing BS.

  • She is extremely unqualified for the job, end of story. Get a trooper, get some experience, get the job done.

    • Facts would be helpful…

    • Excellent point. Only career Troopers should run the department so that nothing can change.

      Doing it the way we always have is far more important than innovation and service.

      Look no further than how well it works sending the same fools to Juneau every election. Let’s keep it up Alaska!

  • Another disaster for the Bableavy Administration. Well done Mary Ann. When are you going to realize you are in over your head?

  • I’m shocked more people aren’t focusing on the Nordstrom line:

    “He said the joke around the office is you could find Price at Nordstrom”

    This is inappropriate, offensive, and just a plainly stupid thingg to say in the age of “me too.” If a Republican made a comment like this about a Democratic nominee, can you imagine the outrage? Also, the fact that he allowed his employees to make sexist comments and jokes about one of his employees should be a pretty clear sign that he wasn’t very good at his job either, and confirms Marcia Davis’ accusations of a toxic work culture. Disgusting.

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