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First posted on Sep. 22, 2008
Add: Sep. 23, 08

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has every right to change out a department head,
but an Alaska legislative committee is investigating as if there could be wrongdoing.

The single heads of each principal department "serve at the pleasure of the governor" according to the Alaska State Constitition and Alaska statute.
(The Governor does not have to give a reason when she fires a department head. See exact text of the law below.)
Governor Palin appointed Walt Monegan to be the Public Safety Commissioner shortly after she was elected in 2006. She terminated him from that post on July 11, 2008.

   Not much of a reason was given at the time. A Palin spokesman at the time simply indicated: "Palin wanted the public safety department headed in a new direction". Governor Palin offered Walt Monegan another post - executive director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. Walt Monegan declined that offer.

Some have speculated that the reason Palin fired Monegan was because he didn't take steps to fire a state trooper in his department named Michael Wooten. Wooten is the ex-husband of Sarah Palin's younger sister, Molly McCann. Molly McCann and Mike Wooten were involved in a bitter divorce in 2005.

Governor Palin denies that that is the reason why she let go Walt Monegan.

I feel that Governor Palin did nothing wrong at all. Since the former Public Safety Commissioner was a high level political appointee, and serves at the pleasure of  the governor, he could be fired for any reason or no reason at all. Whether it's a personalty conflict, policies differences, philosophical differences or whatever, the reason is immaterial. All that mattered is that the governor wanted a new person in that slot. That is a governor's right.
   We don't need a legislative investigation to try to figure out her thoughts. There should be no "thought crime" or "reason crime" here. What matters is the actual action. Was it legal to terminate Commissioner Walt Monegan without showing cause? Yes, it certainly was.

But what does the Alaska  State Constitution have to say about it?
Article 3 of the Alaska Constitution has to do with the Executive branch of government. Article 3, Section 25 is the key provision.Alaska Constituion, Article 3: ...
Section 24. Supervision
Each principal departement shall be under the supervision of the governor.

Section 25. Department Heads
The head of each principal department shall be a single executive unless otherwise provided by law. He shall be appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session, and
shall serve at the pleasure of the governor, except as otherwise provided in this article with respect to the secretary of state. The heads of all principal departments shall be citizens of the United States.

Section 26. Boards and Commissions
When a board or commission is at the head of a principal department or a regulatory or a quasi-judicial agency, its members shall be appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session, and may be removed as provided by law. They shall be citizens of the United States. The board or commission may appoint a principal executive officer when authorizied by law, but the appointment shall be subject to the approval of the governor.
I added the red highlights.   To see entire Alaska Constitution, click here: http://ltgov.state.ak.us/constitution.php

 What does "serve at the pleasure of the governor" really mean?
The State of Alaska publication from the Alaska Legislative Research Agency titled:
Alaska's Constitution A Citizen's Guide explains it (considering both section 24 and 25):
Section 24 specifies that each department is supervised by the governor, and, by making the tenure of department heads dependent upon “the pleasure of the governor,” the present section gives the governor the means to make that supervision effective. In removing a department head, the governor does not, for example, have to show “cause” (such as incompetence, neglect of duty, or moral turpitude) or provide a public hearing, nor may the legislature impose conditions on the removal of department heads (however, it may do so on the removal of certain commission members, as authorized in Section 26).
I added the red highligts.
To see the entire publication: Alaska Constitution A Citizen's Guide on the internet, go to:
http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/docs/pdf/citizens_guide.pdf


Note about Article 3, Section 25: of the Alaska Constitution above:  It says: "...except as otherwise provided in this article with respect to the secretary of state." This refers to the lieutenant governor. The governor can't fire the lieutenant governor which is an elected position. On Aug. 25, 1970 an amendment to the Alaska Constitution was passed that changed the name of the position "secretary of state" to "lieutenant governor". They changed the name in several locations in the constitution, but inadvertantly did not change it in Article 3, Section 25. 


Article 3, Section 25 is the part that covers former Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.
Section 26 does not cover the Public Safety Commissioner nor any of the single heads of the principal departments. (Those are covered in section 25 of Article 3.)

Section 26 does cover multiple people that are on boards and commissions. These people that are members of boards and commissions do not necessarily "serve at the pleasure of the governor". It is up to the legislature to decide that. You will notice that section 26 of the Alaska Constitution says: "...and may be removed as provided by law."  This mean that the legislature can write up a law on the conditions for removing a board member. Section 26 doesn't say anything about "serving at the pleasure of the governor", but section 25 does.

Section 25 does not have the words "...may be removed as provided by law."
In other words the legislature is not authorized  to interfere with the governor when he or she wants to change out one of the principal department heads.


In addition to the Alaska Constitution, the Alaska statutes also affirm that a department head (such as the Commissioner of Public Safety) "serves at the pleasure of the governor".

Title 39 of the Alaska Statues is titled: Public Officers and Employees

Sec. 39.05.020. Appointment of department heads.

The governor shall appoint the head of each principal executive department in the state government. Each appointment is subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session.

Sec. 39.05.030. Service at governor's pleasure.

Each principal executive officer serves at the pleasure of the governor.




 

More thoughts on the matter

Political appointees
As far as I know, high level governmental (and political) appointees are generally "at will" employees and serve at the pleasure of the appointer.
   When a newly elected governor comes into office, it is very customary for them to sweep out all of the previously appointed department heads and appoint their own. It has also happened many times where a governor or mayor or president replaces their own appointees because they feel like it. They have a right to assemble a team that they are comfortable with.

Lower level government workers.
As far as lower down government workers, they are not “at will” employees. We the people, are the owners of our government, and don’t want our government employees arbitrarily discarded. So reasons for dismissal become very important. There are written regulations and statutes that must be followed concerning the hiring and firing of our government workers.
 
Private Company workers
The same thing goes for a big private company. If we are stock holders of that company, we would want a fair hiring and firing procedure written into the company policies. Why? - Because we are interested in maximizing our profit. We want maximum wealth production which is dependent on good employees. We do not want some middle manager to arbitrarily fire some good employee, just so that he can stick his bowling buddy into that position. We want to make sure that the threatened employee has some redress within the company structure. He should be able to go over the head of the middle manager. If there is some kind of personality conflict, then we as stock holders of the company would like to make provisions where by the employee could possibly be transferred to another department. Why? Well, one reason is so that we won’t lose a productive employee that has already been trained up. Another reason why we want company policies and a company reputation that protects employees is so that all of our employees won’t be stressed out and worry about being fired arbitrarily while they are doing a good job. This will keep them happy and productive. We want to discourage them from jumping ship. Also, if our company has a good reputation in its treatment of employees, then our company will always have a good pool of applicants knocking at our door. When it comes time to hire, we will have a better chance of getting an excellent employee. If we had a bad reputation and had bad working conditions, then we would have to substantially increase our wage offering to attract suitable applicants. But since we are competing with other companies we cannot increase our costs too much or we will go under.
 
Citizens pay salaries of political appointees
Back to the high level government appointee – We the citizens are still paying the appointee’s government salary, and so we certainly have the right through our legislature to come up with some new regulations that says that the governor can terminate the appointee only for “certain reasons” but not other specific reasons. And we could even set up an appeal process for the appointee who is being threatened with dismissal.
   But until such a change is made in print, we live by the rules and customs we have. Also, in certain cases we would have to amend the state constitution in order to change the rules for firing a political appointee. 
 
President Clinton Impeachment in 1998
I am concerned about the Palin / “Troopergate” issue not just because I support the McCain / Palin ticket, but rather because the investigation smacks of an area where we are losing our freedoms in this country – “thought crimes”. I’ll touch on that again further below.
   I (as just a citizen writing letters and calling on the radio talk shows) came to the vigorous defense of President Clinton during the impeachment proceedings way back in 1998. I wrote scores of letters (in 1998) to republican congressmen and republican senators asking them not to impeach and not to convict Clinton. The impeachment proceedings had to do with “perjury” and “obstruction of justice”. These stemmed from President Clinton’s association with Monica Lewinsky. Clinton and Lewinsky were forced to answer questions about their relationship in a deposition. This was because of an earlier legal action by Paula Jones.
   What I objected to was a change in the “Federal Rules of Evidence” that allowed attorneys to cast a wide net in fishing expeditions in sexual harassment cases. This law was passed in 1994 by the Democrat controlled congress. President Clinton signed the bill into law.
   Ironically, it was the very same law that ensnared President Clinton. He was impeached in December 1998 by the U.S. House of Representatives. Fortunately, he was not “convicted” by the U.S. Senate.
   I came to President Clinton’s defense during the impeachment proceedings, not because I liked him (I never voted for him), but because I so much opposed the “Rules of Evidence” provision that he had signed into law 4 years earlier. I saw that law as one more bite out of our American freedoms.
 
“Troopergate” vs. Watergate
“Troopergate” involving Sarah Palin should not be called “gate”, because there is no physical wrongful action involved.
   In “Watergate” there was an illegal break-in into a private office at the Watergate apartments in Washington D.C. and an illegal tapping of a phone (in 1972). But the firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan on July 11, 08 was perfectly legal.
   What’s being investigated by an Alaska legislative committee, is Sarah Palin’s thoughts and her reasons. Subpoenas have been issued. To me that is a scary thing when there is no wrongful action involved.

Sometimes it is proper for the government to probe into a person’s thoughts and reasons.
Example: If Jack is on trial for killing a person, it is necessary to find out if it was murder in the 1st or 2nd degree or manslaughter. Perhaps there are extenuating circumstances and Jack is guilty of no crime. Every physical event of the case needs to be analyzed, and Jack’s thoughts and reasons need to be analyzed. Was he frightened, angry, resentful, jealous or temporarily insane? Did Jack feel threatened? Did he feel someone close to him was threatened? Did he think that the person that was killed was someone else? Perhaps it was an accident. What was Jack thinking during the few seconds prior to the killing? What did he do after the killing and what were his reasons for doing it?
 
All of the above questions from the government (in court) are pertinent in this case where a serious and bad action has been committed.
But these type of probing questions are not pertinent for Ralph (below).
 
Ralph prefers Wendy’s over McDonald’s
Example: For 5 years, Ralph went out of his way to avoid a nearby McDonald’s restaurant and spent extra gas to regularly patronize a distant Wendy’s. Who knows what his reasons were, it’s not the government’s business. It may very well be that he has a fierce prejudice against clowns. Or maybe he has an irrational and unjustified dislike of some of the people that work at McDonald’s.
   The government still does not have a right to issue him a subpoena and probe his thoughts and reasons, even if his thoughts are dark and malicious. Why? – Because the physical action of avoiding McDonalds is not a crime. We still have some individual freedom in this country.
(This is just an example. I like McDonald's just fine.)
 
Thought crimes
Thought crimes have arrived in this country, unfortunately. We have lost some of our freedoms during the last few decades. It is a continuous political struggle to hold onto the freedoms that we have and to not slide further into the abyss of governmental omnipotence.
   Granted, it’s not thoughts alone that will get a person into trouble with the government. What can get a person into trouble are thoughts and reasons combined with certain physical actions that by themselves are perfectly legal.
  The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 is an example of this type of thought or reason violation. In other words it is perfectly legal for a private company to terminate an old person. That is a fundamental freedom in a free country. But in a country that has lost some of its freedoms, it is not necessarily legal to fire an old person. It depends on what the reason (thought) was.
   This Age Discrimination in Employment Act "protects" me from being fired from a private sector job since I (Randy Griffin) am over 40 years old.  But I do not not like this kind of "protection". I can stand on my own 2 feet. I do not need to ride up on the shoulders of the federal government. I consider this law to be an insult to me and to the U.S. Constitution. It should be wiped off the statute books.

It’s common to probe into another person’s thoughts.
A friend may ask another: A penny for your thoughts? A mother may say to her child: You set that glass of milk right where it could get knocked over. What were you thinking? We ask for other people’s thoughts and reasons all the time. That’s perfectly fine.
   Sometimes, we take actions based on what we find out about other’s thoughts.
A man has been interested in a certain lady. But he finds out that she thinks he is stupid for having a beer bottle collection on display at his home. But he is proud of his 200 bottle collection from all around the world. He takes the action of avoiding her from now on.
   A father finds out that his daughter thinks horses are the most wonderful creatures. So the action he takes is to get her a horse for her birthday.
   In these 2 cases the men had the right to take the actions that they took based on other people’s thoughts.
 
Does the government have the right to ask you for your thoughts?
Sure. Just like a pollster can call you up and ask for your opinion.
Does the government have the right to punch you in the nose or fine you for certain thoughts and opinions? No, they certainly should not.
   But in fact the government can fine you for certain “bad” thoughts when combined with certain normally acceptable actions. It’s a sad situation.
These anti-discrimination laws directed to the private sector that I allude to, foster mediocrity and diminish the productivity and strength of this nation in my opinion.
 
All powerful government vs. individual liberty
For several thousand years, there has been a struggle between those that want to go in the direction of an all powerful government and those that want to preserve individual freedom. This struggle will always be with us. Many times in history, societies have been under the yoke of an all powerful government for many generations. More recently we can look at the old Soviet Union starting in 1917. Millions of people were brutalized and murdered under the hammer of that regime. A few rays of freedom were able to shine in starting in the 1980’s due to some brave Russian reformers and due to efforts from outside the Soviet Union (the United States).
   The fate that has befallen other societies can befall us in the United States. We are not immune. It takes eternal vigilance and constant citizen effort to keep us from sliding toward governmental omnipotence.
   We have lost many freedoms in this country and we citizens wear many handcuffs, but thankfully we still have many freedoms left.
During George H. W. Bush’s (41, the elder Bush) presidency, a handcuff was added with the passage of the Americans with Disability Act.
   During President Clinton’s presidency our bondage increased with the passage of the Family Medical Leave Act.
   With the possibility of Barack Obama as president, additional bondage and inefficiency looms for our country, in my opinion: Specifically ENDA (Employment Non Discrimination Act) and the Employee Free Choice Act.
 
Search for God of some form
Not all left wingers want total government. Some just want a moderate increase in government control and a moderate loss of freedom. There are differing motives that may drive them.
But I believe there are many left wingers that adhere to the secular religion of Governmental Omnipotence. Through out history most human beings have searched for or pondered on the existence of some type of god. Mankind has sought the security that a higher power could afford – something that could bring needed rain, help with a successful hunt or protect them from natural disasters and other enemies. They have given thanks and offerings in order to stay on the good side of the god that they sought.
   Furthermore, many humans have postulated that a god exists as an explanation for the amazing and mysterious natural phenomena that they witness.
   Then of course there is the desire for eternal life. Also many people seek to discover hints as to the rhyme, reason, purpose and plan of this whole conscious existence thing. Rhyme, reason, purpose and plan implies the existence of a planner or higher governing authority. A supernatural governing authority in turn gives people comfort because it assures them that there is a supreme intelligence at the wheel.
 
Many people reject the idea of a supernatural god. However the reasons why people seek a god are still present. Rather than seek a supernatural god, some people, on at least a subconscious level, seek a secular god. This secular god can take the form of an all powerful (but benevolent) government. The ultimate Nirvana for them would be a one world government.
( I, Randy Griffin, personally believe in a supernatural god. By "supernatural" I mean above and beyond our natural 3 dimensional understanding)
 
One world government
Some people believe that such a governmental system could do much good. It could prevent wars. Massive defense spending would no longer be necessary. That money could instead be spent on health care, education, day care and nutrition. They feel that such a one world government would have enormous resources to do good. Thousands of talented and dedicated government workers could pool there efforts to solve global problems. The culmination of such a talented bureaucracy would be an omniscient, wise and all caring government.
   The adherents to a one world government feel that it would give us a wonderful feeling of oneness and camaraderie with our brothers and sisters around the globe. We could sing and sway in unison.
 
Patient gradualism
The disciples of one world government know that the dream of a one world government cannot be achieved in a short time. They feel that there are too many people with archaic and petty nationalistic feelings. A patient gradualism must be used to accomplish the grand end of a united global government.
   A continuous progression of small steps must be taken:
1.) Increase paternal governmental power within each country, which in turn diminishes individual freedoms and responsibilities.
2.) Diminish and ultimately eliminate private firearm ownership.
3.) Bring the United States down to parity with other countries so that it can be comfortably merged with other countries. (This includes both in the areas of defense capability and economic productivity.)
 
Unions
The pro one world government adherents within the United States, recognize that the free enterprise United States is the single biggest impediment to the dream of a united global government. Therefore labor laws that allow for union strangulation of the domestic American car industry are not a bad thing in their view, because that helps reduce American productivity to the point of parity with other nations.
   Likewise union laws that support the stranglehold by the National Education Association on the American education system is not a bad thing, because that helps advance leftwing indoctrination in the schools and at the same time contributes to the reduction of educational excellence. This in turn aids in the ability to lead the American people into collectivism. That's my opinion anyway.
 
Governmental Omnipotence Belief – GOB
Most of the disciples of GOB are decent and well meaning people. But I believe that they are mistaken. Creation of a one world government would be a horrible and perhaps irreversible mistake. Freedom can only be guaranteed through the separation of powers. If a benevolent one world government became a malevolent one world government, the world citizens would have no where to escape.
 
GOBLIN
I would call a leader who leads the call for a one world government - a Governmental Omnipotence Belief Leader of the Ignorant and Na´ve.
For short I would label them a GOBLIN.
   GOBLINs are not necessarily bad people. They are simply practitioners of their secular religion of Governmental Omnipotence Belief or GOBism. They have every right to engage in their religion according to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
 
But we pro Americanism people have every right to speak out in favor of preserving our liberty.




Written and paid for by Randy S. Griffin, PO Box 73653, Fairbanks, Alaska, 99707
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