Palin appoints new staff, sets Juneau arrival

Governor-elect first hears presentations on Alaska gas line

Posted: Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gov.-elect Sarah Palin is continuing to build her management team in advance of her arrival at the Governor's Mansion on Friday.

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Among the appointees is Juneau's Mike Tibbles as her chief of staff.

Palin, who will be sworn in as governor Monday in Fairbanks, will spend Wednesday and Thursday in gas line negotiations in Anchorage, then travel to Juneau on Friday.

It is not clear when Palin's husband, Todd Palin, who is currently working at Prudhoe Bay, will arrive in Juneau.

Palin, speaking at a news conference in Anchorage introducing new staff members, said Todd's buddies had a new nickname for her husband.

"I think his friends are calling him 'first dude,'" she said.

Palin's first actions as governor, even before arriving in Juneau, will be to go to Anchorage to hear presentations from gas producers and explorers about an Alaska gas line. Joining her will be members of her gas line team.

Appointed Friday to that team was Patrick Galvin, who will be Palin's new Commissioner of Revenue. Also appointed were the commissioner of Military and Veterans Affairs, chief of staff, legislative liaison and director of communications.

Galvin currently serves as petroleum land manager under the state Division of Oil and Gas and has worked in the governor's Office under former Gov. Tony Knowles. He served as section chief for the oil and gas leasing and permitting sections and has been responsible for conducting public reviews of decisions on oil and gas lease sales,

"Patrick will be called on right away to use his knowledge and experience to help move gas pipeline negotiations along," Palin said.

Joining Galvin on the gas line team will be Marty Rutherford, acting commissioner of Natural Resources and Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell.

The other commissioner named Friday was Major General Craig Campbell, heading the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and serving as Adjutant General for the Alaska National Guard. Campbell will continue in the same position he had in the Murkowski administration

New Chief of Staff Tibbles had been responsible for leading the Palin transition team, but his experience in Alaska politics goes back to 1993, and has worked as a legislative assistant for the House Finance Committee, Senate Health, Education and Social Service committee, Alaska Finance committee aide and legislative director, and most recently deputy commissioner of administration in the Murkowski administration.

Palin called Tibbles "an expert on all things Juneau."

Legislative director for Palin will be John Bitney, born and raised in Alaska, with two decades of legislative experience.

Bitney has worked as legislative liaison for the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and had his own lobbying and consulting business. Palin said she'd known him since "junior high band," and called him a long-time friend and trusted advisor.

Heading Palin's communication effort as press secretary and director of communication will be Meg Stapleton, a former KTUU Channel 2 reporter, anchor and newsroom managing editor. She has lately been director of corporate communications at Alaska Communications Systems.

• Pat Forgey can be reached at patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.



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