An Alaska workers' compensation hearing officer who started work for the state in October resigned suddenly Thursday, days after a Daily News columnist raised questions about politics in the hiring process and the same day a reporter contacted a Labor Department official for answers.The columnist was Shannyn Moore, the reporter was Demer herself. Demer links to her email to the Department of Labor.
Meanwhile, back in Pozonsky's old jurisdiction:
A state appellate court ordered a Washington County court Friday to consider hearing arguments to unseal records in a case in which a Washington County family claimed it was harmed by nearby gas drilling.
Stephanie and Chris Hallowich sued Range Resources, MarkWest Energy Partners and Williams Gas/Laurel Mountain Midstream Partners, claiming that gas drilling operations harmed their health and property value.
The parties formalized a settlement in August 2011 during a private meeting in Judge Paul Pozonsky's chambers, after which the case file was sealed.
A reporter from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette objected to the closed-door proceeding, and the paper filed a petition a week later to intervene in the case and to unseal the record. The Washington Observer-Reporter filed a similar request, and the judge denied those requests in February.
Superior Court Judges Judith Olson, Paula Ott and James Fitzgerald wrote in the decision issued Friday that Judge Pozonsky erred in denying the papers' requests to intervene and argue that case file should be unsealed.Demer's article, in her reference to Pozonsky's wife's ties to Alaska seems to be informed by having read Jeanne Devon's Monday Mudflats article that brought up Mrs. Pozonsky's evangelical connection, whereas Moore's Saturday article did not. Also, Demer's questions in her Thursday email to the Department of Labor show knowledge of the questions posed Wednesday by Linda Kellen Biegel, in her essay at The Mudflats.
Demer's failure to mention the work of either Devon or Biegel appears to me to be careless.