The Latest: Democrat questions Dunleavy resignation requests
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on Alaska Gov.-elect Mike Dunleavy’s request for resignations (all times local):
A leading Democrat in the Alaska Senate is questioning Gov.-elect Mike Dunleavy’s request that at-will state employees resign and reapply for their positions.
Sen. Tom Begich is the incoming Senate minority leeader.
He says he thinks the underlying purpose of the request is some “baseless fear that there is some dark state in state government that somehow opposes any action by the governor elect.”
Begich says he does not believe asking for a broad swath of resignations is a sensible way to govern.
Begich is a brother of Democrat Mark Begich, who was bested by Dunleavy in the governor’s race.
Dunleavy’s transition chief says that with the change in leadership, it is appropriate to ask at-will employees if they “want to work for the Dunleavy administration.”
Alaska’s attorney general says she would be “greatly surprised” if the Department of Law looks significantly different after Gov.-elect Mike Dunleavy’s administration takes shape.
Jahna Lindemuth emailed department staff Saturday, after Dunleavy’s transition team said it had asked all state employees who serve at the pleasure of the governor to resign and reapply for their positions.
Lindemuth says the governor can direct the attorney general to hire or fire department employees.
But she says such decisions are not to be made without the advice of the attorney general on how that would affect the department’s ability to carry out its work.
She says she sensed “no animus” toward the department in speaking with Dunleavy and his chief of staff.
Gov. Bill Walker says his administration “strongly advised” Gov.-elect Mike Dunleavy’s team against seeking resignations from a swath of state employees.
Dunleavy’s transition team on Friday said it sent an email to all state employees who serve at the pleasure of the governor asking them to resign and to reapply. In a statement, Dunleavy’s transition chair said it was appropriate to ask current employees if they “want to work for the Dunleavy administration.”
Incoming administrations often make leadership changes, but Dunleavy broadened the scope of employees asked to take the step.
It wasn’t immediately clear how many workers received the email, but a Department of Law spokeswoman said more than half of the agency’s 500 employees received it.
Walker says Dunleavy’s request “is creating anxiety and uncertainty” for workers in nonpolitical roles.