State not commenting on Alaska worker firings
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The Latest on lawsuits from three former state workers in Alaska (all times local):
The Alaska Department of Law is not commenting on lawsuits filed on behalf of three former state workers who say they were wrongfully terminated when Gov. Mike Dunleavy took office.
Department spokeswoman Cori Mills says the state doesn’t comment on pending litigation. She also says the case involves confidential personnel matters.
The Alaska Civil Liberties Union on Alaska on Thursday filed lawsuits on behalf of former state attorney Elizabeth Bakalar and psychiatrists who had worked for the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, Anthony Blanford and John Bellville.
At-will employees were asked to submit resignations after Dunleavy’s election and indicate if they wished to work for his administration.
The lawsuits say Bakalar submitted a letter indicating she wanted to keep working, while Blanford and Bellville “refused to swear allegiance to the Dunleavy agenda.”
Three former state employees are suing Gov. Mike Dunleavy and his chief of staff, alleging wrongful termination when Dunleavy took office.
The Alaska Civil Liberties Union of Alaska plans a lawsuit on behalf of former state attorney Elizabeth Bakalar and one on behalf of psychiatrists Anthony Blanford and John Bellville.
After Dunleavy’s election, chief of staff Tuckerman Babcock asked at-will state employees to submit their resignations. In a statement, Babcock said it was appropriate to ask if they wanted to work for the administration.
The lawsuits say Bakalar submitted a resignation letter but indicated she wanted to keep working, while Blanford and Bellville “refused to swear allegiance to the Dunleavy agenda.”
The lawsuits say their removals violate free speech rights and the policy that state employment be governed by merit.