Borough confirms investigation took place

U.S. Senate Joe Miller’s personnel file contains documents related to an “investigation,” Alaska Dispatch has confirmed.

The new information adds weight to accusations that in March 2008 Miller was caught using borough computers for political gain.

Multiple sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Alaska Dispatch that Miller used other employees’ computers to send out proxy votes in a failed effort to unseat Alaska GOP chair Randy Ruedrich.

Alaska Dispatch is suing the Fairbanks North Star Borough, where Miller worked as a part-time attorney for seven years, over the release of records related to Miller’s employment. As part of that effort, the borough sent Alaska Dispatch attorney D. John McKay a letter Monday refusing, again, to release most of the records sought, but did offer some new information about records previously released.

A return letter sent Monday to McKay by borough attorney Jill Dolan confirms that 10 documents initially withheld from March 2008 “contain employee names in an investigation.” The Alaska Republican Party convention was held around the same time.

The documents pertaining to the investigation involve an e-mail from Miller’s supervisor to three of Miller’s coworkers, written statements from four employees, web activity reports, an e-mail from an information technology supervisor to Miller’s boss and the director of human resources, and an e-mail from one of Miller’s supervisors to another.

If these particular records are to be released, the borough noted that the records would be redacted to protect the identities of employees. The records were among just a handful for which the borough said it would seek redaction or non-disclosure, provided Miller agreed to waive medical, privacy or other personal interests that he may have.

The letter goes on to say that out of the 344 documents identified in Miller’s personnel file, the borough will only seek to withhold eight of them outright based either on deliberative process or attorney-client privilege.

If Miller did engage in political activity while on work time or by using borough equipment, as a former borough employee claims, it would have violated the borough’s ethics code, something Miller would have been aware of. His file contains a copy of the borough’s ethics policy that was sent to all borough employees in July 2006.

The policy mandates “that public office, facilities or employment not be used for personal gain” and specifically identifies “political activities while in work status” as possible violations. Findings from ethics inquiries are also to be put in writing and placed in the employee’s personnel file, and violators are subject to suspension or dismissal, according to the policy.

Sources speaking to Alaska Dispatch on condition of anonymity said Miller was placed on unpaid leave in connection with the Ruedrich matter.

© Alaska Dispatch – Oct 11, 2010