3 former state workers suing Alaska governor over firings

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy is shown during a Cabinet meeting at the state Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, in Juneau, Alaska. Dunleavy is a Republican former state senator. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

By BECKY BOHRER
Associated Press
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – Three former state employees are suing Gov. Mike Dunleavy and his chief of staff, alleging wrongful termination when Dunleavy took office.

The Alaska Civil Liberties Union of Alaska plans a lawsuit on behalf of former state attorney Elizabeth Bakalar and one on behalf of psychiatrists Anthony Blanford and John Bellville.

After Dunleavy’s election, chief of staff Tuckerman Babcock asked at-will state employees to submit their resignations. In a statement, Babcock said it was appropriate to ask if they wanted to work for the administration.

The lawsuits say Bakalar submitted a resignation letter but indicated she wanted to keep working, while Blanford and Bellville “refused to swear allegiance to the Dunleavy agenda.”

The lawsuits say their removals violate free speech rights and the policy that state employment be governed by merit.

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