Thursday, 26 February 2009
Sarah Palin is not a state employee
Sec. 39.20.060. Exclusion of governor and lieutenant governor from personnel laws.
Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, the governor and lieutenant governor are not considered employees of the state for the purpose of state personnel laws relating to hours of employment, annual leave, sick leave, overtime, compensatory time, and travel allowances. This section does not deprive the governor and lieutenant governor of the right to participate in the state retirement system or in state group insurance plans.
There is a very big contradiction regarding this statute.
The governor is not considered an employee of the state. In which case the entitlement to collection of per diem and travel allowances as detailed in the Alaska Administrative Manual - Accounting Travel does not apply to her. The whole manual refers to the entitlement and rules for state employees or approved travellers on state business.
Is there a separate manual for the governor? If she is not a state employee for the purpose of travel allowances, she falls outside the scope for collecting the said allowances. In other words, she should not be entitled to collect per diems or charge the state for travel expenses. By the same token, her family should not be entitled to reimbursements because they are not state employees or approved travellers either.
Sarah Palin can't have it both ways. The statute excludes her from the provisions detailed in the manual, but she claims expenses according to the manual?
Obviously there is a possible get-out clause.
The statute may be interpreted as exempting the governor from complying with the rules in the manual, but retaining entitlement. So there should be a separate set of rules that applies to her regarding travel and other expenses.
If there are not clearly stated rules covering these expenses, does the statute mean that the governor is simply not accountable?
Why did the Personnel Board go through the pretense of investigating the ethics complaint filed by Frank Gwartney against the governor when they could have quoted the statute and end the matter there and then?
None of this makes any sense!
To read article by Lisa Demer and access links to statute, manual and other bits, click here.
The image is my little joke, any rule book is better than none...