Another Palin Firing That Looks Personal

Highly praised aide was dismissed after affair with friend
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Sep 9, 2008 9:08 AM CDT
Sarah Palin stands with commissioners Pat Galvin and Tom Irwin, right, as she announces the companies who applied to build the state's gas pipeline Friday Nov. 30, 2007 in Anchorage, Alaska.    (AP Photo/Al Grillo)
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(Newser) – In another case of Sarah Palin's personnel decisions getting tangled up with family and friends, the Alaska governor fired her legislative director, an old friend, after he had an affair with another family friend, reports the Wall Street Journal. Just 7 weeks before John Bitney was fired, Palin praised his work at a press conference, deeming the legislative session “wildly successful.”

In between, Bitney tells the Journal, Palin was informed by Scott Richter that Bitney was involved with his wife, Debbie Richter, a close friend of Palin's who now works for her as the head of the agency that doles out oil revenues to Alaska residents. At the time, the departure was described as "amicable" and for "personal reasons"; last week a Palin spokeswoman blamed Bitney's "poor job performance." Debbie Richter, now married to Bitney, says she understood the firing: Gov. Palin, she said, "was blindsided, hit at 70 miles per hour from behind."