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Alaska Public Safety head says she was asked to resign

Published: Feb. 13, 2021 at 7:48 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) -

The head of the Alaska Department of Public Safety said Friday she was asked to resign by Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s chief of staff.

Amanda Price, in an interview with The Associated Press, said Dunleavy chief of staff Ben Stevens told her Dunleavy wants “to go in a different direction with Public Safety. When I asked what direction that might be, he had no answer.”

She said she was told she could be removed, without an opportunity to communicate with her team, or tender her resignation and have an opportunity to inform her core team and department.

Price said she believed she had “experienced a great deal of success and had never received a single comment from the governor about anything other than his celebration of that which we were able to achieve while I was here.”

Messages seeking comment and additional details was sent to a Dunleavy spokesperson. A brief release from Dunleavy’s office, announcing the resignation, said Dunleavy wished to “thank Price for moving the department forward during her tenure.”

Dunleavy named Price as commissioner in late 2018, as he was getting his core team together following his election.

In a Facebook post, Price said she believed she was removed for advocating for improved 911 dispatch services to rural communities and for a “recent personnel decision” she made. She said she’s limited in what she can say on that issue.

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She told the AP she spoke with Dunleavy earlier this week, after she had taken the personnel action, and “he indicated he was quite unhappy about it.”

The Department of Public Safety website showed the commissioner position as vacant. Kelly Howell, described in the release as a longtime department employee, was appointed by Dunleavy “to temporarily serve on special assignment” as the department head until a new commissioner is named. Commissioners are subject to legislative confirmation.

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