SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Governor Responds to Latest Round of "Falsehoods"


July 24, 2008

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin strongly denied Tuesday the latest accusations made by the former commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. The Governor also released details of her schedule outlining her meetings with former Commissioner Walt Monegan.

Through various media outlets, Monegan has accused the Governor of expressing concerns about the contents of an annual trooper report.

"Walt has falsely accused me of making a comment to him that a draft report on troopers' activities would somehow make my administration look bad," Governor Palin said. "Why would it? I would welcome further proof that my administration needs the resources we requested to get the job done. My administration asked for nearly $7 million more for the Department of Public Safety. However, working with the dollars that the legislature funded, I am confident that under new leadership, we will develop new public safety initiatives that are reasonable and actionable."

According to a news release from the Office of the Governoror, for more than a week Monegan has also falsely accused the Governor of having only four in-person meetings with him over the last 17 months. In fact says the news release, a quick review of state records proves more than two-dozen meetings, including one-on-one meetings and calls, Cabinet meetings and visits to the Governor's home. This does not include meetings with the Chief of Staff and Special Assistants, community events and staff functions. Notably, the Governor and the former Commissioner made several trips to remote areas of the state in an effort to address public safety issues in rural Alaska. In fact, there were three separate trips that the Governor and former commissioner Monegan took together including Bethel, Dillingham and twice to New Stuyahok. During those trips, the Governor and Monegan were seated together and spent their days together tackling rural issues.

Several commissioners and cabinet members have also countered Monegan's claims.

"Communication has always been paramount in Governor Palin's administration," acting Chief of Staff Mike Nizich said. "Commissioners have always had open access to the governor and members of her top staff. It is unfortunate that a former commissioner has deliberately and inaccurately portrayed her as inaccessible."

"I have open communication with Governor Palin and her staff," Labor Commissioner Click Bishop said. "Anytime I have asked to have a meeting with the Governor, I have been given the opportunity."

"The Governor has made herself available every time I have asked for advice, guidance or support," Corrections Commissioner Joe Schmidt said. "She's been one hundred percent supportive, and she's an excellent listener. Governor Palin never micro-manages and has never interfered with any operation or development of the Department of Corrections."

"Governor Palin has always been accessible to me," Military and Veterans Affairs Commissioner Craig Campbell said. "Whenever she or I have had the need to discuss any issue, we have been able to. For those who think that our Governor is not accessible, all you have to see is the hours she and her top staff put in. She is communicating all hours of the day and night. Our meeting and travel schedules are extremely packed, we are very busy; however, I have never had any difficulty communicating with her no matter where I may be. I do not believe that my experience is any different than those of her Cabinet."

"I have no problems communicating back and forth with the Governor," Director of State and Federal Relations John Katz said. "Often, this occurs in e-mails between her and me. She is almost instantaneous in her responses. In addition, we communicate at Cabinet meetings, in teleconferences, and when she is in D.C. The reason for these communications is to inform the Governor and to get policy guidance from her on key issues. I find her to be well-informed on federal issues, and she provides the guidance we need in D.C. to advocate the State's interests."

Monegan has also raised questions about the propriety of the First Gentleman, Todd Palin, meeting with Monegan right after the Governor was elected to discuss security concerns surrounding a state trooper. That meeting occurred following standard questioning of any newly-elected Governor and First Family members regarding security detail concerns according to the news release. The First Gentleman was specifically told to meet with Monegan by the Governor's top security detail, Special Agent Bob Cockrell, to forward serious concerns that were substantiated in an internal trooper investigation. The concerns regarding the trooper included: using a Taser stun gun on his stepson, illegally killing a moose and driving with an open container in his patrol car. According to the news release, the First Gentleman also expressed concern over death threats made against a family member by the trooper.

"When made aware of the security concerns regarding a state trooper, I instructed the First Gentleman to contact the commissioner of Public Safety," Cockrell said. "It is standard protocol to ask every governor about any threats they perceive or have realized. I will not hesitate to set the record straight in answering these false allegations by former Commissioner Monegan."

Cockrell, who joined the Alaska State Troopers in 1963, started with the Office of the Governor in 1983, under Governor Bill Sheffield. He is now serving his sixth governor.


Source of News:

Office of the Governor


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska