Gov. Dunleavy chooses new chief of staff, Babcock moved to policy advisor

Tuckerman Babcock, Governor Mike Dunleavy and Ben Stevens pictured today in Anchorage. (Photo courtesy of Governor Mike Dunleavy’s office)

Governor Mike Dunleavy announced Wednesday that he has a new chief of staff. Tuckerman Babcock stepped down to become a senior policy advisor. And former Senate President Ben Stevens will be the new chief of staff.

“It’s been a privilege to have Tuckerman Babcock serve as my chief of staff, and I’m grateful for his continued service and commitment to the state of Alaska, Dunleavy said in a statement. I’m confident that both Ben and Tuckerman’s leadership will continue to help us carry out this administration’s goals and agenda.”

Babcock said in a statement that he asked for the move. He previously served as chairman of Dunleavy’s transition team and, before that, of the Alaska Republican Party.

Babcock has been a lightning rod for administration critics. Three former state workers named him along with Dunleavy in lawsuits alleging they were unconstitutionally fired.

Stevens has served as a policy adviser to Dunleavy, focusing on transportation, legislation and fishing.

Stevens was once investigated for corruption by federal authorities. The FBI raided Stevens’ offices in 2006, along with those of at least five other lawmakers. Attention on Stevens focused on consulting work he said he did for oil-field services company Veco, while he was in the Senate. The payments totaled more than $240,000 over five years.

At a different lawmaker’s trial in 2007, a Veco executive said on the witness stand that he had bribed Stevens and another senator, John Cowdery. Prosecutors never charged Stevens with a crime, and he always denied wrongdoing.