Parnell adviser resigns amid hiring uproar
A top energy adviser to Gov. Sean Parnell is resigning amid questions about the legality of his hiring.
Gene Therriault, in a resignation letter dated July 28, said the “political turmoil” generated by Parnell detractors over his hiring last year has become a distraction and potential detriment to the governor, who faces election this year.
“While I believe any judicial review of the circumstances surrounding my hire will be decided in favor of the administrative action we took in good faith, the debate over this issue should not divert Alaskans’ attention from the important matters we have been working on,” Therriault wrote.
His resignation is to take effect Aug. 2. A spokeswoman for Parnell said July 29 that the governor did not ask Therriault to step down.
Therriault resigned from the Legislature last year to take a newly created position as energy adviser with Parnell, who took office last summer. But his hiring drew renewed scrutiny earlier in July when Attorney General Dan Sullivan acknowledged shortcomings in the legal analysis and advice his department gave Parnell on hiring another former lawmaker, Nancy Dahlstrom, for a newly created position as military affairs adviser. Dahlstrom resigned.
The Anchorage Daily News published an editorial saying Therriault should step down.
Lawmakers are barred from taking posts created when they were in office. She and Therriault resigned their legislative seats before transferring to the executive branch.
While Sullivan said he believed his department’s advice wasn’t unreasonable, he said there was “appreciable risk” a court might disagree.
—The Associated Press