It’s been a week since Rep. Zach Fansler submitted his resignation letter to the House over accusations that he assaulted a woman, but with an effective date of next Monday he’s continued to collect legislative per diem and pay while being a no-show in the capitol.
As of Monday, Fansler will have been completely absent from the Legislature for a total of 17 days (10 since his resignation, which came six days after the allegations were published in the Juneau Empire), accruing a total of $5,000 in per diem at a rate of $295 per day. Meetings of the committee he chaired were put on hold during the first week of his absence, and bills will go through the Legislature without an opportunity for his district to be heard.
Legislators are automatically paid per diem in advance in two-week installments unless they notify the Legislative Affairs Agency otherwise. He happens to have been paid per diem through the day before his resignation will become official, and has not notified the LAA of any changes, said Jessica Geary, the deputy executive director with the agency, this week via email.
Not only has Fansler left his district unrepresented during this time (not to mention the time it will take to appoint a replacement), he’s been paid while doing so.
The woman accusing Fansler highlighted this in a statement provided to the Juneau Empire on the day Fansler submitted his resignation, calling on him to donate his per diem to the Tundra Women’s Coalition, a group that operates a 30-bed shelter for women in Bethel along with a crisis line and other services for victims sexual assault and other violent crimes against women.
“I’m glad this bit of uncertainty has been resolved but I was disappointed to read in his resignation letter that Zach is avoiding taking responsibility for his actions. Since his resignation is not effective until the 12th and he is still collecting per diem, I suggest that he donate the next 10 days’ per diem to the Tundra Women’s Coalition,” she told the Empire. “Zach caused me a great deal of physical and emotional pain, but he also let down his constituents, and they deserve better.”
We wholeheartedly agree.
Fansler’s vowed to contest the charges and he’s due due his day in court, but he can’t contest the charge that he hasn’t been doing the job he was elected to do.