With All Due Respect....

With All Due Respect Special Episode

January 16, 2022
With All Due Respect....
With All Due Respect Special Episode
Show Notes Transcript

We solve the mystery of why and how Angela Rodell, the most successful director of Alaska's $83 billion dollar was fired as part of a political power grab.

Show 48a (Special Episode)
 Opinions on the firing of Angela Rodell

 

Welcome to another episode 
 of With All Due Respect
 
 I am Andrew Halcro your host for this podcast
 with me as always is my chief collaborator
 Mr. Van Sanders.
 
 

As Always we’d like to thank the Anchorage Daily News…
 
 

On today’s special episode
…as state lawmakers prepare to investigate the
 …abrupt firing of Angela Rodell
 …the most successful
 …executive director in
 …Permanent Fund corporation history
 
 …there now emerges
 …a new figure in this scandal
 
 …new information has come to light
 …to suggest that there was a
 …third gunman on the grassy knoll
 
 …Ladies and Gentlemen
 …enter mister
 …Brandon Brefczynski
 …a special assistant to
 …Governor Mike Dunleavy
 …and long time friend
 …to permanent fund corporation
 …board of trustees chair Craig Richards
 
 Today
 …on With All Due Respect
 …we are going to piece together
 …the puzzle of why and how
…Angela Rodell was fired
 
 However
 …in order to tell the
 …full story of just how we
 …arrived here
 …we need a history lesson
 
 Van
 …hit me one time with a history lesson
 
 (Van does history lesson)
 
 This story began
 …three years ago with the election
 …of Governor Mike Dunleavy
 
 Swept into office
 …with grand promises
 …of higher dividends
 …Governor Dunleavy arrived
 …in Juneau only to find his quest
 …for a super dividend stalled
 
 During his first term
 …he faced a solidly opposed
 …legislature to his plan
 …for super dividends
 …because lawmakers realized
 …they would bankrupt the state
 
 After his first two years
 …of trying to achieve
 …his goal by bullying lawmakers
 …agitating his base
 …and hoping the courts
 …would force lawmakers
 …to honor the original formula
 
 Governor Dunleavy realized in 2020
 …if he was going to get his way
 …he need to kick up the pressure
 
 So since he couldn’t persuade
 …the legislature to
 …over draw the permanent fund
 …he decided he need to change
 …the legislature
 
 So in August of 2020
 …the Governor and his allies
 …attracted outside political groups
 …to attack fiscally conservative Republicans
 …like Cathy Giesel and John Coghill
 …who had refused to support the governor’s
 …plan to overdraw the permanent fund
 
 In November of 2020
 …that plan paid off
 …as more candidates
 …who had supported overdrawing the fund
 …were successfully elected
 
 However
 …even with the additional seats
 …the governor and his allies picked up
 …there still wasn’t enough votes
 …in a closely divided house and senate
 …to give the governor the pay day
 …he’s been jones-ing for
 
 Even after he kept
 …lawmakers in Juneau 
 …for four months
 
 …After pressuring and badgering
 …lawmakers directly
 
 …after using public funds to try
 …and agitate the public to
 …bring pressure on lawmakers
 
 …this fall 
 …Governor Dunleavy realized 
 …he was running out of
 …both time and options
 
 With his re-election
 …in less than a year
 …and his primary campaign promise
 ..of a large dividend fading
 
 With no relief from the 
 …courts 
 …and no help 
 …from lawmakers
 
 The governor turned his sights
 …to the permanent fund corporation
 
 First he requested Rodell to 
 …unilaterally transfer enough cash
 …so he could pay a super dividend
 …but she pushed back
 …after the Department of Law 
 …told the governor
 …his idea was illegal
 
 Then
 …Dunleavy’s finance director Lucinda Mahoney
 …attempted to get the corporation
 …to change their valuation policy
 …to overstate earnings
 …again Rodell pushed back
 
 
 As we have mentioned
 …on this podcast before
 …Angela Rodell had
 …consistently warned lawmakers
 …about over drawing the fund
 
 Rodell’s credibility
 …was arguably the reason
 …why a number of lawmakers
 …who supported a higher dividend
 …but were worried about future deficits
 …did not support the governor’s idea
 
 So not only was Rodell
 …outspoken about not overdrawing the fund
 …she also defended the corporation from
 …Governor Dunleavy’s attempt to influence
 …the corporation’s investment policies
 
 So with the clock ticking
 …and less than a year until November 2022
 …removing Rodell
 …and eliminating her credible opposition
 …to overdrawing the fund was the governor’s
 …only remaining play
 
 Now
 …you might ask 
 …why?

 

Last session
 …there were a few lawmakers
 …who would have tipped the balance
 …of the vote for a higher dividend
 …but didn't because of Rodell's warning.
 
 However
 …this is an election year
 …Many are in tough/new districts
 …and would love for nothing more
 …to campaign on delivering a bigger dividend
 
 That is why it was so critical
 …for Dunleavy to orchestrate the firing of Rodell
 …before the start of the legislative session
 
 
 With Rodell out
 …a compliant board of trustees
 …and a new director who says
 …a one time overdraw is okay
 ...suddenly the game changes
 …votes change
 …and the governor
 …get his re-election boost
 
 So
 …in order to remove the barrier
 …last month Angela Rodell
 …was called into a board room
 …and fired within the span of five minutes
 
 The director of the
 …permanent fund corporation
 …who not only had the best earnings record
 …of any prior director
 …but whose organization was just
 …recognized as a best place to work
 …was fired without warning
 
 Now
 …I’ve told you the why
…Angela Rodell was fired
 
 …now let me tell you how
…Angela Rodell was fired
 
 Up until this point in this
 …story we’ve had three major
 ..actors involved in this drama
 
 And this is what we
 ..know publicly
 …at this point
 
 First there is…

 Angela Rodell
 …Executive Director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation
 …who claims
 …her firing was political retribution
 
 Second there is

 Craig Richards
 …Chair of the board of trustees
 …who claims Rodell’s firing
 …wasn’t political retribution
 …but it was for poor performance
 
 Third there is

 Governor Mike Dunleavy
 …who claims he knew
 …nothing about nothing
 
 …and that he has no
 …control over the board of trustees
 
 ….even though he has appointed
 …a majority of the trustees
 …including two commissioners
 …who serve at his pleasure

 But today there emerges a fourth actor
 …from the shadows

 Enter Brandon Brefczynski
 …a special assistant to the governor
 …and a long time friend
 …of board chair Craig Richards

 

Now
 …let’s circle back to board chair Craig Richards
 
 In his letter
 …to state lawmakers
 …explaining the reason for Rodell’s termination
 …Richards wrote
 
 “…it is important to recognize that in the board’s view
 …it had given Ms. Rodell the opportunity 
 …to address concerns about her
 …leadership in prior years.”


 So this podcast
 …is gonna put 
 …Craig Richards
 …and the rest of the board’s view
 …to the test


 Last week
 …the Department of Law
 …released the massive personnel file
 …of Angela Rodell
 
 Ladies and Gentlemen
 …I have been through every sheet of paper
 …in Angela Rodell’s 296 page personnel file
 …and there is not one piece of documentation
 …to justify the termination of Rodell
 
 There are a few vague anonymous
 …critical comments from employees
 …but more positive ones
 
 …and criticism from an anonymous trustee who wrote
 …”Information that comes to the board is controlled and manipulated
 …board goals are sometimes ignored or even undermined
 …and a number of trustees in recent years 
…have lost trust in her veracity and leadership”
 
So…according to the Board Chair Craig Richards
….Rodell had been given the opportunity
…to correct these issues during the prior years
 
Okay
…so let’s say for arguments sake
…that board chair Craig Richards
…is right
 
 

Let’s say that 
 …Angela Rodell was given
 …the opportunity to improve 
 …her table manners but didn’t
 
 Ladies and Gentlemen
 ….if you were to believe that
 …you would also have to believe
 …that board chair Craig Richards
 …in his fiduciary duty of managing
 …Angela Rodell
 …identified specific areas of improvement needed
 …and then created a corrective work plan
 
 After all
 …this is the director of an $83 billion fund
 …if there were performance issues seems
 …natural that there would be a 
 …a performance 
 …improvement plan
 
 However
 …Ladies and Gentlemen
 …do you know how many pages
 …in Rodell’s 296 page employee file
 …identified specific areas for
 …her to improve upon
 
 …do you know
 …how many pages were 
 …in Rodell’s 296 page employee file
 …identified need to benchmarks
 …and goals for her improve her performance?

 

Not one.

 Not one page in Angela Rodell’s 296 
 …page personnel file
 …identifies any are of needed improvement
 …or documents any corrective action
 
 
 Remember
 …Board Chair Craig Richards said
 …Rodell was fired for performance issues
 …over the prior years
 ….but yet there are no documented
 …attempts to remedy those same issues
 
 So according to all of the facts
 …the board of trustees supposedly ignored
 …Rodell’s performance issues so long
 …they were left with no choice
 …other than to fire her abruptly
 
 Angela Rodell shouldn’t have been fired
 …Craig Richards and the rest of the trustees
 …should be fired
 
 We are talking about the leadership
 …of the state’s $83 billion dollar fund
 …that provides 2/3 of all state revenue
 
 And yet according to Richards
 ….the trustees allowed the leadership
 …issues with Rodell to fester so long
 …while doing nothing to remediate them
 …they had to abruptly fire her
 
 If you believe that
 …than you should believe
 …that these trustees did 
 …not meet their 
 …fiduciary responsibilities
 
 If Rodell’s conduct was that bad
 …why wasn’t it clearly documented
 …and why the hell did they fail
 …to address these concerns during
 …the prior years?

 

Angela Rodell wasn’t fired
 …because of her performance
 …she was fired because she was in the way
 …she was fired as part of a power grab
 …over Alaska’s $83 billion permanent fund
 
 Now
 …Governor Dunleavy has orchestrated this entire affair
 
 Not wanting to get his hands dirty
 …and to keep maintain some modicum of
 …plausible deniability 
 …Dunleavy used his special assistant
 …Brandon Brefcyzinski 
 …a long time Fairbanks friend of
 …Craig Richards
 …as his surrogate to orchestrate
 …the plan


 

Brefcyzinski
 …is a former legislative staffer 
 …who has worked as a special advisor 
 …to the governor since he started his term. 
 
 Brefcyzinski role
 …was the internal orchestrator
 …from Rodell’s review process
 …that was done by 
 …revenue commissioner Lucinda Mahoney
 …to the governor’s response
 …once Rodell’s firing became public 
 
 

The firing of Angela Rodell
 …was orchestrated between
 …Governor Mike Dunleavy
 …board chair Craig Richards
 …commissioner Lucinda Mahoney
 …and all coordinated by 
 …Dunleavy’s special assistant
 …Brandon Brefcyzinski


 Angela Rodell
 …was the most successful executive director 
 …in permanent fund corporation history
 
 …in her 296 page personnel file
 …there was nothing to suggest
 …that the board of trustees 
 …had ever identified 
 …areas of needed improvement
 …and then held her accountable
 
 This was a political hit job.
 
 Dunleavy, Richards, Mahoney, Brefcyzinski 
 …intentionally ruined the career of a
 …dedicated public servant
 …in order to achieve their political goals
 
 Ladies and Gentlemen
 …this is a dangerous power grab
 …for control of Alaska’s $83 billion 
 …permanent fund
 
 State lawmakers need to get
 …to the bottom of this
 …the precedent this establishes
 …is unconscionable 
 
 Angela Rodell 
 …deserves an apology
 
 and…
 

Craig Richards
 …deserves to be fired
 
 

(Closing music)

 

There is the closing music
 …and you know what that means
 …please be sure to subscribe to our
 ..podcast 
 …and our regular episode will be
 …out later this week
 
 Take care everybody…