After a mere two years of working in the hostile Department of Health and Social Services workplace, one woman employee has won a $216,000 settlement against the State of Alaska while a former deputy director of the Department of Labor is simultaneously pleading out for criminal misdemeanor harassment after having to decline a job as legislative liaison for Gov. Tony Knowles.
Welcome legislators to Juneau: Do you see a problem here?
Some will remember that the last screwball legislative liaison was Bruce Kendall, who in mid-May of 1992 attempted to dupe local media representatives with what he said was a tape recording made in a downtown restaurant while reporters were having lunch. That alleged recording supposedly contained evidence of a journalistic conspiracy against the Wally Hickel administration. Nobody ever heard the tape but another administration aide, Don Tanner, joined in Kendall's game and ultimately was fired following suspension without pay for two weeks on another goofy act. Finally, Kendall was ordered to resign just as he was to assume a new job in the state's Washington, D.C., office.
Some would say the Knowles' administration has not received the same degree of scrutiny by the media as the Hickel administration drew. We who were witnesses also know Hickel brought a bunch of sometimes mixed-up benevolent old white guys to Juneau and expected them to stay here to do the state's work. Generally they respected women and viewed the state workforce as a resource to be managed not an extension of their ambitious political campaign for ever-higher office. By contrast to Gov. Hickel, Gov. Knowles and his cronies have gone to great lengths to show disdain for state workers and for Juneau as the capital.
If the media dares to report the truth, that will be the Knowles legacy.