A class act

Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Last Thursday, May 8, my former boss, Karleen Jackson, resigned as commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. I believe it is the state of Alaska's loss.

However, I also believe that the governor should have the cabinet he or she desires.

Karleen Jackson is one of the most ethical and otherwise estimable persons with whom I worked in my 30 years of service for the state. And she did not disappoint in this regard with her resignation.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Jackson said she came to the decision after a meeting on Monday with Gov. Sarah Palin.

"We had a little bit of a difference of opinion on how the department should move forward, so I offered my resignation after that conversation and after thinking about it for a while," Jackson said.

How refreshing. No "pining for the private sector." No baloney about "wanting to spend more time with the family." No leaks, spin, or pandering to favored press persons.

She disagreed with the governor about where the department should be going and she quit.

And I think it extremely unlikely that the former commissioner will immediately resurface as a vengeful legislative employee or lobbyist as is all too common.

This sort of principled resignation occurs routinely in parliamentary systems ... but is quite rare in ours. Too bad for us.

Elmer A. Lindstrom

Former special assistant, deputy commissioner and project manager for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services


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