Berkowitz Proposes Role Realignment for Attorney General

Dave Donaldson, APRN – Juneau

Democratic candidate for Governor Ethan Berkowitz today proposed realigning the role of the Attorney General – to make certain that the AG independently represents the public, not the governor’s personal interests.

Berkowitz says it will avoid a possible abuse of power and could have prevented some of the ethical issues that have arisen over the past few administrations.

Berkowitz says he not change the current method of selecting the Attorney General – who appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislature.  However, he would like to prevent the AG from being fired without cause – saying that would give the Department of Law more independence in its service to the public.   Along with the separation of the two officers, the governor would have a legal counsel on his own staff to handle his own office’s legal needs.

He also would like to limit the members of the state Personnel Board to one term – to avoid the perception that they are satisfying the governor’s wishes in any decisions they might make.

Berkowitz says these changes, such as the Governor’s Legal Counsel, would have avoided some of the conflict that came out of the Troopergate inquiries in 2008.

Governor Parnell’s campaign staff took the proposals as attacks on the integrity of Governor and the Attorney General.  The statement read in part: “Ethan’s attacks won’t interfere one bit with Governor Parnell’s efforts to ensure that good jobs are available for Alaskans who are working to raise their families. Governor Parnell will continue to fight the federal government when it limits our resource development and our freedoms.”

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