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Palin allies step down: Bailey, Perry pursue other opportunities

Posted: Friday, July 31, 2009

Two close allies of former Gov. Sarah Palin are leaving state employment.

The aides, Frank Bailey, director of the Office of Boards and Commissions, and Kris Perry, director of the governor's Anchorage office, are on their way out, said Sharon Leighow, spokeswoman for Gov. Sean Parnell.

"Both of them decided to pursue other opportunities," she said.

Parnell, who took office Sunday after Palin's resignation, has so far retained all other top Palin staffers.

Both Perry and Bailey have been implicated in actions that led to ethics investigations during Palin's tenure as governor, which ended with her resignation Sunday.

Perry was cleared of allegations that she had inappropriately used state resources for partisan political purposes when she accompanied Palin to the Republican National Convention and to Georgia to campaign for Republican Saxby Chambliss.

Bailey was suspended after he was implicated in the Troopergate investigation but later reinstated. He also was referred for additional ethics training after an investigator said he had been inappropriately involved in attempting to get a state job for a Palin campaign supporter.

Leighow said the resignations had not been requested by Parnell.

An independent investigator hired by the Alaska Personnel Board, Tim Petumenos cleared Palin of violations of the Alaska Ethics Act, and said there was no evidence that she knew of actions Bailey was taking on her behalf.

Petumenos said Bailey called a ranking state police officer as part of a campaign to get Palin's former brother-in-law, a state trooper, fired. Bailey was apparently unaware the phone call would be recorded.

The call did not appear to be part of Bailey's official duties as boards and commissions director.

Sarah Palin had no knowledge of Bailey's actions, Petumenos said.

Bailey "confirms he did this entirely on his own and after looking over the transcript in retrospect admitted that he appeared to be speaking on behalf of Todd Palin and the Governor, but was not," Petumenos wrote in his report.

Staff at the governor's offices in Anchorage and Juneau said Bailey was traveling Tuesday and was unavailable for comment.

Petumenos said Sarah Palin and Bailey regularly used private e-mail accounts, including in a network set up by Bailey, to conduct state business. Bailey also deleted e-mails without regard to the state's document retention policy, which he told the investigator he was unaware of.

Bailey also was involved in interceding with state officials to secure a state Transportation Department job for a Palin campaign volunteer from Fairbanks, Tom Lamal.

Bailey has been a paid campaign staffer for Palin, but was "not experienced in state government" when he was made director of Board and Commissions, said Petumenos, who also served as independent counsel on the Lamal investigation.

Petumenos said Bailey acknowledge that involving himself in transportation hiring decisions was not part of his job, but claimed that Mike Nizich, Palin's chief of staff, authorized it. The investigator said that Bailey claimed he was simply "monitoring" the process.

Petumenos said Nizich disputed Bailey's claim he had authorized his involvement, and Bailey's e-mails contradicted his claim that he had been simply "monitoring" the process.

"The e-mails written by Mr. Bailey appear to reflect an improper motivation by Mr. Bailey to specifically get Mr. Lamal hired," Petumenos concluded in his report to the Personnel Board.

Petumenos recommended that Bailey undergo additional ethics training to prevent possible future violations of the Alaska Ethics and Personnel Acts.

Perry was mentioned peripherally in both the Lamal and the Monegan inquiries, but was cleared of any allegations of improper actions.

Leighow said Bailey's final day of employment will be Aug. 15; she didn't know when Perry's last day would be.

Contact reporter at patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.



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