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...



Anonymous said...

Sarah isn't a State of Alaska employee like Dick Cheney wasn't a member of the executive branch of government.

Anonymous said...

Great post......

and how about truancy-gate?

Among other things, federal funding under No Child Left Behind can be put in peril for school districts with parents who do not comply with state truancy laws and do not permit the school district properly to account for minor children's extended absences.

In Alaska the compulsory attendance laws certainly apply to the governor's minor children. Failure to comply can endanger funding for other people's children:

Sec. 14.30.010. When attendance compulsory.

(a) Every child between seven and 16 years of age shall attend school at the public school in the district in which the child resides during each school term. Every parent, guardian or other person having the responsibility for or control of a child between seven and 16 years of age shall maintain the child in attendance at a public school in the district in which the child resides during the entire school term, except as provided in (b) of this section.

(b) This section does not apply if a child

(1) is provided an academic education comparable to that offered by the public schools in the area, either by

(A) attendance at a private school in which the teachers are certificated according to AS 14.20.020 ;
(B) tutoring by personnel certificated according to AS 14.20.020 ; or
(C) attendance at an educational program operated in compliance with AS 14.45.100 - 14.45.200 by a religious or other private school;

(2) attends a school operated by the federal government;

(3) has a physical or mental condition that a competent medical authority determines will make attendance impractical;

(4) is in the custody of a court or law enforcement authorities;

(5) is temporarily ill or injured;

(6) has been suspended or expelled under AS 14.03.160 or suspended or denied admittance under AS 14.30.045 ;

(7) resides more than two miles from either a public school or a route on which transportation is provided by the school authorities, except that this paragraph does not apply if the child resides within two miles of a federal or private school that the child is eligible and able to attend;

(8) is excused by action of the school board of the district at a regular meeting or by the district superintendent subject to approval by the school board of the district at the next regular meeting;

(9) has completed the 12th grade;

(10) is enrolled in

(A) a state boarding school established under AS 14.16; or
(B) a full-time program of correspondence study approved by the department; in those school districts providing an approved correspondence study program, a student may be enrolled either in the district correspondence program or in the centralized correspondence study program;

(11) is equally well-served by an educational experience approved by the school board as serving the child's educational interests despite an absence from school, and the request for excuse is made in writing by the child's parents or guardian and approved by the principal or administrator of the school that the child attends;

(12) is being educated in the child's home by a parent or legal guardian.

Littl' Me said...

I wonder how other States handle this. To my knowledge, I have NEVER heard of ANY other governor taking 'Per Diems'!