Chris Hayes resigns from human rights panel

Posted: Thursday, May 10, 2007

FAIRBANKS - The wife of former Fairbanks Mayor Jim Hayes has resigned from the Alaska Human Rights Commission at the urging of Gov. Sarah Palin.

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Hayes in February was indicted on 92 federal counts of theft, conspiracy and fraud. She is charged with misuse of $450,000 in federal grants intended for LOVE Social Services Center, a nonprofit group that she directed.

Jim Hayes has been indicted on 23 counts. The former Fairbanks mayor resigned from the University of Alaska Board of Regents in April.

Federal prosecutors say the Hayeses spent the money on themselves and on a church where Jim Hayes is pastor.

Palin in a letter Monday asked Chris Hayes to resign because of the "decreased attendance at meetings, the time commitment and focus that is required to be a contributing member of the Alaska Human Rights Commission, and because of the cloud looming over the Alaska Human Rights Commission due to the federal indictments brought against you."

Hayes' term on the seven-member commission, which enforces Alaska human rights laws, began in March 2005 and was to end in 2010.

Commissioners are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature, but a spokeswoman for the Palin's office said the governor does not have the power to remove a member.

In March, the governor removed Chris Hayes from the Alaska Workforce Investment Board, a body that serves at the pleasure of the governor, according to state law. Her four-year term on that board was to expire in October.

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