Outside: Anywhere that is not Alaska.The Associated Press Stylebook for Alaska, second edition
“This election is about restoring trust,” Gov. Mike Dunleavy said while on the campaign trail.
We heard the refrain time after time on the campaign trail:That Dunleavy would be doing things differently and he would include the public in the many tough decisions ahead.
“Restoring trust with Alaskans will be my most urgent priority after I become governor on Dec. 3,” he promised after he secured his victory.
So where then was his attention to public trust on Dec. 5 when he secretly signed a sweeping administrative order to immediately centralize all budgetary power under his Outside budget director Donna Arduin, who has no connections to Alaska?
The order, which has still yet to be published by the administration, was provided last night to The Midnight Sun and Fairbanks columnist and blogger Dermot Cole (who’s up working late to bring you the latest from the new administration) by what appear to be different sources.
It outlines a massive consolidation of power under Dunleavy by“centralizing all significant services oversight within the Office of Management and Budget,” which is part of the governor’s office. It means that the budget folks that have been housed in each department will now report directly to Arduin, who by the way has a “history of dubious reports” for Republican administrations across the country, instead of their commissioners.
Why it matters
Such a change had appeared to just be in consideration on Thursday—one source informed us of the possibility on Thursday afternoon, describing it as rumor—but it turns out that it had already been completed the day before and only to be disclosed by leaks to Alaska’s bloggers (though, oddly enough, this seems to be one time where the “independent” Must Read Alaska didn’t have the scoop).
“The purpose of this order is to streamline and increase accountability of budget and policy administration,” Dunleavy’s administrative order explained, saying it would ensure “cohesive and effective implementation of statewide policy and fiscal directives.”
That source warned against such sweeping changes, though, arguing that new administrations “don’t know what they don’t know,” noting it was a problem for Gov. Bill Walker’s administration, too.
The source also said that if it happened, it would at best show the administration doesn’t trust its slate of new commissioners to handle their own agencies and at worst suggest something more nefarious is underway.
In his Nov. 29 editorial “Restoring Alaskans’ trust in government,” the governor wrote the following:
“To those Alaskans who voted for a different candidate, I also want to make a commitment. Whatever issues may divide us, I didn’t run for governor so that I could go down to Juneau and pick winners and losers. I ran for governor because I want to make this state a better place for all Alaskans.”
But this secretive move does precisely the opposite.
It won’t be the commissioners—who, while their qualifications vary wildly, at least can call Alaska home—picking the winners and losers, but an OMB director who just landed in Alaska hot off implementing supply-side economics for other Republican states.
Is that really what Alaskans voted for?