Anchorage Daily News — The president of the Alaska Correctional Officers Association filed a lawsuit against top officials at the Department of Corrections Tuesday alleging repeated harassment.
Randall McLellan's lawsuit targets DOC Commissioner Joe Schmidt and Director of Institutions Bryan Brandenburg and says the men punished him in retaliation for his union advocacy.
McLellan is asking for more than $100,000 in damages, plus attorney fees and related expenses, in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Alaska Superior Court.
McLellan, who represents more than 900 correctional officers, has often acted as spokesman for a union long entrenched in battles with administrators over issues like staffing levels and safety.
The lawsuit alleges a series of conflicts starting in 2008 after the union issued a vote of no confidence in Schmidt, who spearheaded staffing cuts.
Shortly after the vote, the department started "a secret monitoring file" on McLellan and asked officers to "watch" him, the 13-page lawsuit says.
"The file included reports of such trivial matters as failure to say good morning, a failure to verbally respond to a comment and a failure to wear his name tag," the lawsuit says. "The file was created in an apparent effort to find grounds for subjecting McLellan to discipline."
In April 2008, Brandenburg directed McLellan to speak to the media about an infectious bacterial disease that had worried DOC. McLellan told reporters he was also concerned about a lack of clean linens and prisoner clothing at the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility where he worked, the lawsuit says. continue reading...