JUNEAU, Alaska (KTUU) — The governor’s commissioner-designees and appointees to various board positions are scheduled for confirmation votes Wednesday before a joint session of the Alaska Legislature.
Among the appointees is Department of Public Safety Commissioner-designee Amanda Price. In recent weeks, Price has gone before multiple House and Senate committee hearings to determine if she is qualified for the job.
A focus of interest has been testimony from Scott Kendall, former Gov. Bill Walker’s chief of staff, who accused Price of chronic absenteeism and poor performance at work.
Other employers and supervisors have defended her against that characterization.
Price was front and center at a media conference Tuesday to defend her reputation and push the administration's point that many of the claims about her have been “distorted.” She spoke about her work building a “collaborative spirit” among her employees and team members in the department.
Alongside Price were four of her subordinates from of the Department of the Public Safety and Scott Carson, the secretary and treasurer from the Public Safety Employees of Alaska — the union that represents public safety workers.
All five men spoke in glowing terms of Price, including Deputy Commissioner Michael Duxbury.
“As a 30-year trooper, who is a workaholic by nature, I find that I can’t outwork my boss, and I was very surprised to hear someone say she wasn’t at work very much,” he said.
Col. Doug Massie from the Alaska Wildlife Troopers said he was happy to see a lieutenant position in the Alaska State Troopers added in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley after the region had long complained of a trooper shortage.
“It happened quicker than any other new position I’ve ever seen in my career,” Massie said.
Some lawmakers remain unconvinced.
Rep. Zack Fields, D-Anchorage, the co-chair of the House State Affairs Committee, questioned Price on issues regarding her security clearance along with other committee members.
A letter from Kathryn Monfreda, the director of statewide services at the Department of Public Safety, sent Monday said that Price had undergone a criminal history background check and a fingerprint check — a much less stringent check than would be required for law enforcement officers serving in uniform.
Duxbury, who appeared before the committee hearing, sounded unconcerned about Price having a less thorough security check, saying she would be a civilian leader of the department.
Across the Capitol, lawmakers have said Wednesday’s vote on Price's confirmation could be very close.
Commissioners require a simple majority vote of the 60 members of the Alaska Legislature for confirmation.