Around February 6th, 2008, Andrew Halcro (failed gubernatorial candidate turned blogger) accused Governor Palin of using her staff as babysitters. Specifically he apparently said that Ivy Frye was driving her kids to school on state time, etc…
Just the previous month Governor Palin had specifically instructed her people to not do anything other than their strict job description; she went to lengths to ensure that there could be no such accusations, and yet, somehow, Halcro found a “source” to make them. This ticked off the Mama Grizzly.
The following is a long exchange where the Governor’s staff attempts to set the record straight to Halcro. It higlights, once again, that Governor Palin was committed to staying within the law, cutting costs and saving Alaskans money, and (contrary to the claims of some disgruntled former employees) was committed to her kids and wanted them around. There’s some info about Mat Maid as well. Bolding done by me.
Sharon Leighow talking to Halcro:
I just read your most recent blog item regarding Ivy Frye and I feel compelled to respond.
Ivy has never “shuttled” the Governor’s children to school on state time–or any other time. Furthermore, she has never even been asked to baby sit the Palin children. Where do you get this stuff? Leaving your readers with the impression that Governor Palin uses her staff for personal business is outrageous.
In fairness, I think you should retract the erroneous information that was posted. Andrew, I have noticed many errors in your blog postings – especially items dealing with Mat Maid.
I just shake my head when I read posts such as the one about Joe Austerman getting paid twice or the one about Mat Maid hiring a new CEO who was getting paid more than Mr. Van Treek etc. I feel posting misinformation is a great disservice to Alaskans. If you ever need clarification on anything,. I hope you know you can always call me.
I only posted that comment about Ivy after I had confirmed it with three different sources. In fact this story has been out there for months including some school employees who wondered why state employees were shuttling kids to school on state time. If you are telling me it is not true then I will retract the comment.
Sharon relays it to the Gov -
Andrew emailed me last night. See below. I may be able to make some progress.
Because these ARE lies, he must retract.
It’s hard to believe school staff would have commented, certainly they’d have no complaints re: anything being done unethically because nothing is being done unethically.
Security just confirmed to me again that they’ve always served the entire first family. I told them, AGAIN, I want that in writing.
I also just told Fred that I will do here in Juneau like I do in Anchorage – use security very minimally, drive myself (esp when the kids are with me so no one perceives any abuse of priviledge). Here in Juneau I will drive the vechicle that is parked in the Gov’s House garage and not ask for rides. I am also trying to use the house staff as minimally as possible (don’t want them working any overtime, am not asking them to stay to clean up after events, etc … we as a family – and I personally – am doing as much of this as possible) .
There are too many other issues to have to worry about with my job – this type of issue must be cleared from my plate, and will be cleared, by not using Security as it’s been (evidently) used in the past and accepted as common practice. This also brings up the matter of how many Security staffers are necessary, and I’d like Mike Nizich to work through that issue and bring me a recommendation.
The complaints that are brewing re: my family’s use of Security should have been addressed, in writing, some time ago (when the criticism began), as it’s an unnecessary burden and a timesink to continue to have to worry about this.
I feel I’ve had to defend myself on this for months, and because others have advised that I just ignore it, I apologize for sounding curt on this but I do want it addressed, I do want recognition that my family is under a sharper microscope than evidently past Gov’s family were, and we can’t ignore that. We also need to come to terms with security staff numbers and assignments to be fair to those Alaskans who are concerned about my family utilizing Security services that were offered (but scaled way back) since my election.
Another disturbing comment brought to my attention by an administrator this morning is that the only ones who could be complaining about this would be either staff at the house, or Security staffers. I don’t believe that could be the case, especially not with house staffers because I am confident I don’t ask them to do anything out of their specific job descriptions.
Mr. Nizich: pls work through the issue of Security, including the number and location of necessary staffers, and the policies regarding allowing my kids to be with me in vechicles, etc. Pls make sure it’s fine that I drive the Gov’s House vehicle to/from work and wherever else I need to go while in Juneau.
Sharon: pls work to dispel any misperception that’s out there, those rumors that have been spewed re: state employees “complaining”, and state employees’ duties and relationship with the First Family.
Erika: again we’ll be ever vigilant to make sure no one can even be perceived as going outside their job description re: cooking or anything else at the house that they weren’t hired to do.
Thanks, hopefully this will be quickly resolved so no one’s left guessing what’s legal, what’s not re: Security services provided by the State. Thank you.
Final note: if there are ever complaints by state staff that willow and Piper stop in my office for a quick visit after school before they had to the hosue, that will be the kicker here. I’ve heard just one rumble about that – but if there are more, please let me know and I’ll speak to whomever has a ·problem with my allowance of the girls visiting me here. They shall continue to visit me here as often as they’d like to.
Palin forwards to Parnell:
Just fyi- clearing up the crap that critic(s) are spewing re: my girls riding with security (and me) while we’re in Juneau. It’ll be easier to just clear this up and do what I do in Anchorage – drive myself and not worry about whether it’s appropriate to have the kids with me or not.
Rachel and Grace used to get off the school bus and walk up to myoffice in the Senate Finance room. These are family adjustments that have to be made to survive and to suggest there is anything inappropriate is wrong. Also, they bring a dose of reality to this fishbowl. Most of Alaska would be glad to hear that you care enough about the girls thatyou are with them part of the day. SHEESH…Children add value-they don’t detract.
Sharon to Andrew:
Thanks Andrew- I would definitely take the Ivy posting down- she doesn’t even have a vehicle!
As for the others – I will get you backup information. Again – thanks
Sharon, I’ll take the post down but tell me, is there any truth that any state employee has shuttled the governor’s children to school? This came from unrelated sources so I’d like to know if they have given me bad information.
The Governor’s security detail takes the two younger children to school. This falls under the security detail services provided to First Families dating back to the Hammond Administration.
Other questions- The total attorney fees that have been paid out are:: Roughly $25K on the Terry Cark case and less than $7K on Joe VanTreek’s. The deductible is 25K per case and insurance will cover the rest. We have met the deductible on Terry Clark’s case. Joe Austerman never been paid by Mat Maid. It was never discussed; it never happened.
He was selected to be the liaison between the board and the task force. I know the legislative audit looked into this issue and found no such payments. I don’t think the audit has been released yet, but Monica French from Legislative Audit can confirm this…. Senator Green may also be able to confirm this.
Regarding Ralph Carney, Board of Agriculture asked Pete Ginder to call several reputable accounting firms and find out how much they would charge to go into Mat Maid and get us some financial information that the task force was requesting and that they needed as a board. Pete reported to the board that the range was $170-$250 plus an hour and none of them could get to it right away.
The Ag board asked Ralph, since he was a CPA, if he would be willing on a temporary basis to go to Mat Maid and get the financial information that the Task Force needed and the board needed to make decisions about how to move forward. He agreed to do it for Mof the lowest per hour cost that Pete could find and he said he could do it right away. Ralph worked part time on this during July and August.
Thanks in advance for the retractions. And again – shoot me an email anytime you need something verified.
Security drops off the kids only when I can’t … and a clearer picture is this: Piper is in the car with me, with security – sometimes I get dropped off first, sometimes she gets dropped off first – it’s all one loop of a drive in the mornings.
She rides the public school bus home after school – it doesn’t stop at the house though, it stops a block away from the capitol (and I haven’t used my position to request any different bus drop-off point that would be more convenient) – I don’t ask Security to pick her up at the bus stop, she walks and I meet her or Security looks down the street to make sure she got off the bus.
No one helps with Bristol or Track or Todd – we don’t ask for rides or anything else for them – that’s why we had our personal vehicle down here last year for Bristol. Willow gets a ride from security in the morning for school, but I told Fred no more of that. These guys are paid a full-time salary though, they don’t have a lot to do, so they’ve always offered their service for instance to drop Willow off at school, I think so they won’t be so bored. They don’t take her to basketball or other activities though.
And they’ve now showed me documents that they’ve provided this security service for other Gov’s families going all the way back to Hammond (it’s as far a records go). Diane, who works at the house, said the house staff was always expected and happy to provide rides and do errands for First Family kids when Knowles was there – but we do not ask Diane or anyone else to give rides to our kids.
Once in awhile Erika’s daughter (who is a friend of Willow’s) invites Willow and Piper to hang out with her after school. They go to an art class and sometimes Erika (after hours) takes them to the pound to look at puppies. I’ve also paid Erika’s daughter $10 a few rare times (three times this session) to walk Piper from the bus stop to the house and hang with her until I get there.
I told Security I will not be using their service to drop Willow off in the mornings. We will not let any open door to potential, perceived abuse of the priviledge of having Security provide that service.
You don’t need to get into any more details with Andrew on this, please don’t. But know that I will be using Security less and less – and continue not using house staff – to squash unnecessary speculation and criticism. Confidentially, Nizich is working on cutting the Security detail in half. At the most we need one guy in Juneau, one guy in Anchorage. He’s working on that now.
So we’ll have gone from six-plus security guys when I first got here, down to two at the most. And House staff has been reduced, too, of course … and we’ll keep trying to find ways of living more efficiently – if it’s possible to reduce House staff further, then we will.
We’re still too nice in response to Halcro. He is a liar.
Security, Gary Wheeler -
As the detail commander, I am not aware of any of my people complaining about their duties or responsibilities to you or the first family, if anything your requirements have been far below what we have provided in the past and I hope that wouldn’t make anyone unhappy.
Obviously, my concern and responsibility as the supervisor of this detail is for your safety and that of the first family and Lord help me if something were to happen to you or a member of your family under my watch.
To date, every function we have performed for you and past Governors has been legal, above board morally and ethically. I will not nor have I ever sanctioned anything that would be illegal or perceived as such. It is this details responsibility to ensure you and the first family’s security and safety in all aspects. This certainly is abroad description but it does cover the “SafeH transportation of your children at your request.
Every Governor in the past has utilized us at one time or another to provide “safe” transportation for their children or grand children and we have and will perform that function happily. I have also had this discussion with many of the other 49 details and they too provide security and safe transportation for the first family.
The level of security to you and your family is strictly your decision and I have always respected that. I would only ask, that on occasion, I have a closer dialog with you rather than e-mail. I believe you can convey your message to me easier and I can respond, I did however have no problem qnderstanding yoqr latest e-mail.
On a personal side, you’re an extremely thoughtful person as it pertains to security staff, their hours and duties and I admire that human side.
Thank you Gary. I think we’ve got some solutions here, I appreciated Mr. Nizich presenting me with documents that show Security Service can be provided the First Family, not just the Gov, so we got that covered today to arm me against state employees (and school district employees, evidently) who’ve been complaining about any ride provided Willow, specifically.
Bigger issue is number of Security staff. My direction is to reduce even further, as we’re reducng costs in other areas of state government too. I spoke with Mr. Nizich on this today and it sounds like steps can be in the works toward this end. An on-call security staffer in Anchorage, and one in Juneau, should really be able to provide the service that would be most helpful and cost efficient for the state.
I’ve asked Mr. Nizich to work on this, he’ll contact you further. Thanks again for your assurance that I am following law and properproceedure with utilizing security. It was helpful to see Mr. Nizich’s documents on this today.
Palin to Ivy:
Ivy- Have you EVER shuttled my kids on state time, ever? I know you have not. Halcro is a liar. The mainstream media going to him as a credible source is pathetic. Security has shuttled my kids from point A to point B, with their insistance that it’s their job to work for/protect the First Family and they did it for other governors. If Halcro wants to gripe about that, let him take it up with Security. (Maybe I need to get that in writing?)
Even with security I don’t ask much of them so I can’t be accused of “using state personnel” to assist with First Family logistics.
Sharon, if there’s anything you can do here shedding light on Halcro’s continued lies, pls do.
And Ivy, your AGIA piece was great!
I have never “shuttled” kids to school on state time-or any other time. Anybody who knows anything knows the governor takes her kids to school by herself or with security every flippin’ day. Anytime I hang out with you and your family it’s because I want to! This guy is a LIAR! I am ticked! I’m calling him on the flippin’ carpet. I’m glad he’s given me a reason to take the gloves off!
He is a sinful liar. He’s got to be called on this – I’m not going to keep on letting his bs be ignored and even accepted. Sharon and Beth need to help on this too, to communicate with mainstream media that they’re discredited when they go to Halcro as a legit source. Who could have even spread that lie to Halcro? Bitney? Anyone else around here?
What do you think about me just calling him and pointing out his lies? I will start with Ivy shuttling the kids.
Sharon, just let me know if you need anything from me. I’m happy to go on the record here.
And apparently Halcro also wrote a post slamming Ivy Frye with the headline “what does the Babysitter have to say?”
Yep- enough is enough… I get SO sickened by this kind of stuff- you [Ivy] do NOT deserve to be lied about.
Governor, don’t even worry about it! He is a liar and I’ll be happy to call him on the carpet. I have never once driven your kids to school on state time or any other time. It’s either you or security. I’m happy to set the record straight too! And another thing: I don’t even have a car right now–I was in a car accident and totaled my truck!
Again, he attacks AGIA supporters with baseless personal attacks and lies instead of the merits of the project.
Sheesh … Andrew was always good at stepping on people to make his point.