From Megan Holland in Anchorage --
Gov. Sarah Palin has been meeting with Public Safety Commissioner Chuck Kopp today and plans to hold a news conference this afternoon, her spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said.
Leighow would not disclose what the two have been talking about or what the governor will say at the news conference, including whether Palin plans on firing the state's top cop.
Kopp has come under increasing scrutiny since Palin appointed him to the position on July 11, after she sacked commissioner Walt Monegan with few details.
On Thursday, Palin's office said they did not know a 2005 sexual harassment claim against Kopp resulted in a letter of reprimand to him until he revealed that information to the public at Tuesday's press conference. Before, Leighow said, the governor's office believed the sexual harassment claim was investigated and found to be unsubstantiated.
Leighow has said the governor was both disappointed and concerned to learn of the letter.
Kopp has been defending the letter saying that it was more a "letter of instruction" than of reprimand, saying he learned a valuable lessen to not hug employees in the workplace. He does not consider it a validation of sexual harassment. Under an agreement he reached with the city, the letter was removed from his personnel file after two years after he had no more complaints.
Kenai City Officials, who have not released the letter citing personnel laws, say, though, that if it was a letter of instruction, it probably would have said it. There are various levels of action after a sexual harassment complaint, said city manager Rick Koch. If the allegation was found to be unsubstantiated, the city has the option of sending a letter saying so.
Meanwhile, both the public and lawmakers want answers to some questions.
Here are some of my questions:
1) The complainant in the Kenai sexual harassment case e-mailed the governor's office on July 13, writing to the governor. Here's what she wrote:
Dear Governor Palin,
As someone who admires you greatly and appreciates all you have done for our state government, I am dismayed to learn that you will appoint Charles Kopp to replace Walt Monegan.
I worked as Chief Kopp's Administrative Assistant and found him to be a dishonest, manipulative bully. My employment at Kenai Police Department ended after my sexual harassment complaint against Chief Kopp was acknowledged, validated, but ultimately dealt with ineffectively by the City of Kenai.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I still have the file I maintained during this time period as I considered legal action. I have put this dreadful period of my life behind me, but feel it is my responsibility to make this information available to you.
No one from the governor's office contacted the woman. Then, Palin announced Kopp got the job the next day, July 14.
Several days later, the woman called the governor's office asking officials there to look into it, she said. Someone from the governor's office said that it had been investigated and found to be untrue, again.
Why didn't the governor's office take her information more seriously? Once after the e-mail, then after the phone call?
2) The governor's office says it knew about the complaint in 2006 when Kopp was on the governor's Public Safety transition team. Who looked into it then?
3) What kind of background check was done on Kopp before he got the job? Who did the background check? What questions were asked?
4) And, finally, did Kopp lie to the governor's office and tell them the claim was never substantiated? Or, did the governor's office just not ask?