From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --
Sorry this took so long. Here are excerpts from an interview tonight with Gov. Sarah Palin, and her spokeswoman Sharon Leighow, on the ethics complaint filed today by Andree McLeod.
To recap, McLeod says e-mails she got through a public records request show the governor's office was using its influence to help a supporter, surveyor Tom Lamal, get a DOT job in Fairbanks.
Palin says there were no favors and that the state only fixed a "glitch" that was keeping a qualified surveyor from being able to apply for a job because of outdated job requirements.
Tip: You might want to just skip to the end.
LEIGHOW: Mr. Lamal has been a surveyor since 1967. And this situation predates the e-mails that Andree McLeod released today. Mr. Lamal had requested that the – well he was having trouble going through Workplace Alaska.
What’s Workplace Alaska?
LEIGHOW: Where you apply for a job.
LEIGHOW: So Frank Bailey was working for the Department of Administration during this time. … Frank got involved to iron out issues with the Department of Transportation that were preventing the DOT from hiring qualified folks for vacancies, for spots they couldn’t fill.
PALIN: And in this case Kyle, it was surveyor positions up in Fairbanks that could not be filled and DOT was wondering why the system kept bumping people out of the system who were highly qualified. They were registered surveyors. … That system it included 20-year-old job descriptions for things like surveyors. And that is why the really qualified registered surveyors kept getting ot of the system. Tom Lamal was one of those that was getting kicked out.
LEIGHOW: Mr. Lamal went through all the normal hiring process. But it wasn’t until the DOT updated, it’s called minimum qualifications, that allow the Department of Personnel to actually hire Mr. Lamal.
PALIN: … So many of these technical classified positions in the state, they go unfilled because of glitches in Workplace Alaska because there’s so many outdated job descriptions. In this case it was a 20-year-old outdated job description. A minimum qualification that didn’t match what today’s market provides.
Here a qualified, overly qualified really, surveyor, getting booked out of the system because of this glitch. Not only did DOT, they couldn’t figure out why they couldn’t get these right of way surveyor positions filled, but Department of Administration, having been given that heads up from a constituent, Tom Lamal, who had been trying to use the normal process – that the Department of Administration, Frank Bailey, Kevin Brooks, worked with DOT on those minimum qualifications.
And we were lucky to have somebody whose been a registered surveyor since the 60s who wanted to work for the state instead of the private sector where they could have made a lot more. …
LEIGHOW: They updated the system … they worked out the glitches that were preventing Mr. Lamal from getting his application kicked back.
PALIN: Not this just job description, but through recruitment and retention efforts to get and keep good state employees, finally Workplace Alaska under Kevin Brooks and a couple of other managers have been updating these job descriptions. It’s no wonder that we have such huge recruitment issues.
I can hear the critics saying: Wait, was it a case of this person couldn’t get a job … they didn’t meet whatever specifications there were for the job, so the job specifications were changed?
PALIN: No. And Kevin can give you the details for what was kicking a registered surveyor out of the system. Why a registered surveyor could not at least appear to be a candidate, meeting qualifications, when they were over qualified.
…No favors were done. This was part of the regular process system.
SHARON: Andree McLeod had requested e-mails from Feb. 1 to April 15, she was looking for partisan activity. She’s using just a handful of e-mails that don’t fully explain what preceeded this.
PALIN: And this is the same Andree McLeod that follows us around at public events and camps herself out in our waiting area and hounds us for a job, asking us if there’s a way she can go around workplace Alaska and not have to go through he system to get a job with this administration.
What job does she want?
NOTE: This begs a reply from McLeod. At first she said “no comment.” Then said: “The messenger always gets clobbered. I’m not interested in getting into a cat fight. The issue at hand is this complaint.” Palin also referred to McLeod as “the falafel lady” because she sold falafels downtown. McLeod said she once appeared in a Republican Governors Association ad supporting Palin. Be sure to send me link if you can find it online.