Gov. Palin selects new spokesman

Bill McAllister forced out after less than one year

Posted: Monday, June 29, 2009

The turnover continues in Gov. Sarah Palin's public relations staff, with her top spokesman, Bill McAllister, forced out after less than a year in the position.

Replacing McAllister is David Murrow, an author of Christian books who lives in Chugiak.

McAllister moves to a newly created position as communications director of the Department of Law.

Murrow said he was too busy to talk to the Empire on Friday, but earlier told the Alaska Budget Report Newsletter he began the job June 10 and is paid $103,716 annually.

The governor's office has not publicly announced the new appointment, and has been slow to announce the hiring of the last three communications directors.

Murrow told the Budget Report that he owned a media production company that once did work for a Palin campaign, and is also author of two books on Christian men and church.

According to the American Library Association's Booklist, "Murrow advocates injecting a strong shot of testosterone into the proceedings to restore the masculine spirit to the church," in his first book, "Why Men Hate Church," published in 2004.

In 2008 he published "How Women Help Men Find God."

McAllister, a former reporter at the Empire, was working for Anchorage's KTUU-TV covering Palin and the Alaska Legislature when Palin hired him to be her top spokesman last July.

His nine-month tenure as Palin's spokesman was highlighted by an antagonistic relationship with Alaska's news media.

At one point Anchorage Daily News Executive Editor Pat Dougherty posted on his Editor's Blog an open letter to Palin suggesting a meeting to improve relations.

Dougherty told Palin it would not be productive to bring McAllister to that meeting.

McAllister declined to comment to the Empire, but told the Anchorage Press newspaper that the move out of the governor's communications director position was made at Palin's request.

Not long after McAllister was named Palin's official spokesman, she was tapped as Sen. John McCain's vice-presidential running mate, and thrusting her new press secretary into the limelight along with her. Then he was also diagnosed with lymphoma, which was treated with chemotherapy but remains a threat.

He now has a new job created for him in the Department of Law, acting as communications director and press secretary for new Attorney General Dan Sullivan.

Murrow is Palin's fourth communications director, following McAllister, Rosanne Hughes and Meg Stapleton. Hughes remains in Palin's communications office as director of external communications, while Stapleton is now working for Palin's political action committee.

Deputy Press Secretary Sharon Leighow remains in the office, while two other deputy press secretaries have departed; Beth Leschper is now handling communications duties for the Department of Labor, and Charles Fedullo has returned to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.



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