FAIRBANKS - A measure that could lead to an impeachment trial of University of Alaska Regent Jim Hayes received its first hearing in a state Senate committee, but members balked at its timing and estimated cost.
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The Legislative Affairs Agency estimates an impeachment trial would cost $425,000.
Sen. Bettye Davis, D-Anchorage, chairwoman of the Health, Education and Social Services Committee, which heard Senate Resolution 3 on Wednesday, said the Legislature has more pressing issues.
"From my standpoint, we have more important things to do than to take up this particular bill, this late in this year, and not work on the issues that need to be worked on," Davis told KTUU-TV.
Sen. Tom Wagoner, R-Kenai, sponsored the resolution. He testified that Hayes could not be an effective regent because of the federal charges filed against him.
Hayes, a former Fairbanks mayor, was indicted earlier this year on charges that he misused federal funds associated with LOVE Social Services Center Inc., a Fairbanks nonprofit run by his wife.
"This is a major case that he's involved in," Wagoner said.
A trial would take Hayes' focus off his work as a regent, Wagoner said, and Hayes has recently missed board meetings.
Committee members stopped short of endorsing the impeachment.
"I can't help but hope there are other alternatives for Mr. Hayes," said Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau.
Elton and Sen. Joe Thomas, D-Fairbanks, both cited the projected cost of an impeachment trial.
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