Sunday, September 7, 2008

Listen up! The truth about "Troopergate"

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's opponents are trying to raise a ruckus over what's become known in the national media as "Troopergate" in which it's alleged that she canned Walt Monegan, the state's public safety commissioner, because he wouldn't axe her ex-brother-in-law, a state trooper who received only a ten-day suspension (later reduced to a mere five days!) for illegally shooting a moose, drinking on duty and using a Taser on his ten-year-old son.

The essential facts will be covered here in short order. I say "essential" because once you read them you'll wonder yourself why this moron wasn't canned.

First off, I know Walt Monegan to be a "cop's cop" who worked his way up the ladder from third-shirt patrolman to chief of police in Anchorage before Gov. Sarah Palin appointed him Alaska's public safety commissioner. I like Walt and believe the real reason he's no longer the top cop is because he couldn't justify submitting a reduced budget when his agency was overworked, understaffed and underfunded.

The truth is that Walt is an "at will" appointee who served at the pleasure of the Governor who can fire him for any reason or no reason at all, period.

The truth also is that Walt technically wasn't fired. He was offered a different job, as executive director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. He turned it down.

Further, the truth is that Sarah Palin, long before she was governor, wrote Col. Julia Grimes, then director of the Alaska State Troopers, about her abusive brother-in-law's antics. Read for yourself what she wrote.

The truth is that the trooper was disciplined by Col. Grimes for eleven violations, including drinking on duty, illegally shooting a moose and using a Taser on his ten-year-old son. Col. Grimes' letter indicates that there were prior warnings and another document shows that the trooper was the subject of a domestic abuse restraining order.

Bear in mind, folks, that all this was done before Sarah Palin became governor and Walt was appointed public safety commissioner. That makes the claims that Palin or others acting on her behalf were learning on Walt to fire the rogue trooper a bit suspect because how could he act when the matter was closed?

Nonetheless, Sarah Palin could have flat out fired Walt for any reason under the sun and, as an "at will" appointee, he has no recourse.

The rest of this, of course, is mired down in politics but you have enough facts at your disposal to independently conclude that even if Sarah Palin or others acting on her behalf tried to get Walt to can her ex-brother-in-law, so what? The real travesty is that he wasn't fired earlier. (If anything good has come out of this it's that Julia Grimes is no longer director!)

Case closed.


RAG said...

Unfortunately I had to delete a comment because it contained inaccuracies and some "facts" outside the record.

Jay Bullock said...

Unfortunately I had to delete a comment because it contained inaccuracies and some "facts" outside the record.
Thanks for contributing to the cover up.

RAG said...

Actually, the goal was to shed objective light on a politicized situation.

In the law, we rely on the "reasonableness test" in assessing credibility. Here, since the discipline, such as it was, happened during the Murkowski administration, the case was closed. Even if there was pressure there was nothing that Walt could do. The same situation would apply here: if a public employee is disciplined, the case can't be reopened to increase the punishment. In other words, there was nothing Walt could do so there is no margin for anyone to lean on him.

That said, even if Gov. Palin herself had tried to get Walt to fire her ex-brother-in-law, so what? Walt, by his own admission, served at her pleasure and could be fired for any reason or none at all. So there is nothing to "cover" because she had the authority under any circumstances.

However, Walt was not "fired" per se because he was asked to head another state agency. He, by his own admission, declined. Had Gov. Palin had such limited trust in him, why would she offer Walt another department head position?

Personally, I believe Gov. Palin could have handled this better, but she did nothing wrong. The REAL question here is WHY this moron wasn't fired earlier.

Rick W said...

This was great. I can't believe the big deal being made about this. Gov. Palin is ok in my book.