SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Governor to Turn Over Inquiry Findings to Branchflower
Special Counsel Asks Public to Call in With Information


August 14, 2008

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced Wednesday she will turn over findings of an inquiry by the Alaska Department of Law regarding the termination of former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. The findings were made available to Steve Branchflower, a retired state prosecutor, who was selected earlier this month by the Legislative Council to investigate the termination of the former commissioner and allegations it might have been related to Monegan's refusal to fire State Trooper Mike Wooten, the Governor's former brother-in-law.

Click on the arrowto listen to the recording of a telephone conversation between Boards and Commissions Director Frank Bailey and an Alaska State Trooper from Ketchikan.

Immediately following the Legislative Council's move to hire Branchflower, Attorney General Talis Colberg ordered the preservation of all state documents that might be relevant to the investigation. The Department of Law has conducted informal interviews with staff from the Department of Public Safety and the Office of the Governor. Branchflower has requested that interview notes and tapes resulting from the meetings be delivered to his office.

Governor Palin on Wednesday afternoon released a recording of a telephone conversation between Boards and Commissions Director Frank Bailey and an Alaska State Trooper from Ketchikan. Quoting a news release, the recording shows Bailey acted inappropriately by suggesting that he was speaking for the Governor and the First Gentleman.

"I am truly disappointed and disturbed to learn that a member of this administration contacted the Department of Public Safety regarding Trooper Wooten," Governor Palin said. "At no time did I authorize any member of my staff to do so."

"It is apparent that comments I made to a Department of Public Safety official regarding Trooper Wooten improperly and incorrectly implied that I was acting on behalf of the governor and/or her husband," said Bailey. "That was wrong."

"At no time did either the Governor or Todd Palin direct me, or imply that I should try to influence any employee to have Trooper Wooten fired," Bailey added. "In fact, with the exception of the briefing with the Governor's security detail immediately after the election, I have never discussed Wooten with the Governor."

Today Steve Branchflower, Special Counsel to the Legislative Council, Alaska State Legislature, activated a tip line for Alaskans with information that could help the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the firing of former Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.

The tip line number is 907-264-6617.

Callers will hear a brief recorded greeting from Branchflower with an invitation to leave information.

Branchflower served the State of Alaska for more than 20 years as an Assistant District Attorney prosecuting violent offenders. He was also the first Director for the state Office of Victims' Rights. In 2002, Branchflower conducted a study of the Municipality of Anchorage's 911 system which provided a roadmap for improving the city's emergency response capabilities.

Governor Palin has directed all of her staff to cooperate fully with Branchflower.


Source of News:

Office of the Governor

Alaska Legislature

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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska