Is there anyone who loves to waste the state's time and money more than the AK democrats? They really don't care that they're pissing away funds and valuable time just so they can spar with Gov. Palin. What a joke they are.
This is the latest in the saga of of the drama that is: "filling Elton's vacated Senate seat."
Palin wants open vote on Senate seat
Governor questions constitutionality of state's appointment law, says her pick stands
By Pat Forgey JUNEAU EMPIRE
Gov. Sarah Palin is backing away from her demand that Republican senators have a say in who represents Juneau in the Alaska Senate, but is still demanding a public vote on her appointment to replace former Democratic Sen. Kim Elton.
"The Senate can decide for itself who participates in the vote, I am simply requesting that the vote be done in public," she said late Friday.
That could give Palin another chance at appointing legislative aide Tim Grussendorf to the Juneau Senate seat. Despite the support of powerful Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, most other Democratic senators did not support Grussendorf's appointment.
Palin got little support from Senate President Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, for the idea of a Republican role in the confirmation of Grussendorf.
Stevens said he would instead follow state law, which leaves confirmation of the appointment up to Senate Democrats.
"I don't have anything to do with that, I'm a Republican and that's a Democratic decision," he said.
Palin said there are doubts of the constitutionality of the appointment law, which has been used for most of the state's history. It was most recently used last year when Palin accepted the confirmation of her appointment of Rep. Wes Keller, R-Wasilla, to the Legislature without objection.
Democratic Sens. Hollis French and Bill Wielechowski, both of Anchorage, denounced that action on the Senate floor Friday, saying it was only fair for the same party to appoint a replacement senator.
"It's about protecting the will of the community as it was expressed in the last election," French said.
Also Friday, Palin met with Juneau Democratic leaders who had the same message.
"I told her that it was pretty clear in the law that it was the Senate Democrats," said Kim Metcalfe, Juneau Democratic chair, after her meeting with Palin.
Palin sent a letter to Stevens Thursday evening saying her appointment of Grussendorf still stood, calling Wednesday's rejection by Democratic senators invalid.
Palin's letter came just hours after telling the Empire that she was considering other applicants, including the Democrats' top choice, Rep. Beth Kerttula.
By Friday evening, Palin had reversed course again, agreeing to a confirmation decision by Democrats only. She is continuing a public vote, however.
The Senate Democrats' decision Wednesday was made behind closed doors, in apparent violation of the state's Open Meetings Law which requires most decisions of governmental bodies to be made in public.
Senior Democrat Johnny Ellis, D-Anchorage, organized the meeting and defended its closed-door status.
He likened it to a city assembly holding an executive session to decide whether to hire or fire a manager.
"It's like a personnel issue for our group, the discussion goes to the reputation of an individual," he said.
In the case of a municipal decision, a final vote would be taken in public. That didn't happen in this case, and Ellis declined to say whether a vote was taken at all.