Former assistant public advocate sues Dunleavy, Babcock
A Fairbanks attorney is suing Gov. Mike Dunleavy for wrongful termination, the fourth former state employee to sue the governor since he took office last December.
Kelly Parker, a former assistant public advocate, accused Dunleavy and ex-Chief of Staff Tuckerman Babcock, of violating her constitutional rights with the firing.
Prior to Dunleavy being sworn in, Babcock asked several hundred at-will employees to resign and reapply for their jobs.
As an attorney representing indigent defendants, Parker said her interests, even as a state employee, would never align with the governor.
In a letter to Dunleavy and his transition team dated Nov. 30, 2018, Parker wrote, in part:
“Because of my role as a defensive advocate and my professional responsibilities as a member of the Alaska Bar Association, I cannot comply with Mr. Babcock’s request. The State of Alaska, in all cases, is legally adverse to my clients. It would therefore be extremely problematic for me to pledge personal loyalty to the head of the State in order to retain my role as an Assistant Public Advocate.”
Parker added she did not wish to be terminated, adding, “I hope that we can each move forward in our positions and preserve the sanctity of our adversarial justice system.”
On Dec. 3, the day Dunleavy was sworn in, Parker received an email, saying, “You are hereby notified that your position has been terminated, effective December 3, 2018 at noon.”
This gave Parker 33 minutes to clean out her desk.
In January 2019, former Assistant State Attorney Elizabeth Bakalar and two Alaska Psychiatric Institute physicians filed a similar suit against Dunlevy and Babock.
The Department of Law said it had no comment at this time, but would be filing a response with the court.
Parker’s three Anchorage-based attorneys did not return calls seeking comment or were out of town.
Correction: This story has been edited to correct the spelling of Gov. Mike Dunleavy's name.
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