The Palin Troopergate scandal as governor - which at its core is about her use of her public office to pursue a private vendetta by firing a public safety commissioner - is not the only time Sarah Palin fired a public employee for reasons apparently unrelated to job performance. Hat Thief has the details. From the Anchorage Daily News December 1997:

A recall of Mayor Sarah Palin is off the table, at least for now, according to a group calling itself Concerned Citizens for Wasilla. The group of about 60 residents was formed Friday in response to Palin's controversial firing of Police Chief Irl Stambaugh. Members say they're concerned about the direction taken by Palin since her election last fall, and discussed a recall.

What happened?

Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin fired the city's police chief and the library director without warning Thursday, accusing them of not fully supporting her efforts to govern. Irl Stambaugh and Mary Ellen Emmons said letters signed by Palin were dropped on their desks Thursday afternoon telling them their jobs were over as of Feb. 13 and that they no longer needed to report to work.

Not fully supporting her efforts to govern? Hmmm. From the ADN

Emmons has been the city's library director for seven years. Stambaugh has headed the police department since it was created in 1993. Before that, he served 22 years with the Anchorage Police Department rising to the rank of captain before retiring. While both struggled with Palin when she was first elected in October, they said the letters caught them off guard. Both had publicly supported Palin's opponent, long-time mayor John Stein, during the campaign last fall. When she was elected, Palin questioned their loyalty and even initially asked for their resignations. But both said Thursday that they thought things had been worked out. ''After the initial roller coaster, we were ready to work for Mayor Palin,'' Emmons said. ''Unfortunately I think we were both fired for politics.''

Palin, when asked by a reporter about the firings, first denied that they had happened. When the reporter went back to the police chief:

Stambaugh's response was to read part of the letter given to him. ''Although I appreciate your service as police chief, I've decided it's time for a change. I do not feel I have your full support in my efforts to govern the city of Wasilla. Therefore I intend to terminate your employment. . . . '' ''If that's not a letter of termination, I don't know what is,'' he said.

So Palin lied, as she did, by her own admission, in the later firing of police chief Monegan. Stambaugh eventually sued for wrongful dismissal. Palin won -  because the judge ruled that a mayor can legally fire a police chief for any reason she wants, political payback or otherwise:


Singleton said that under state law, police chiefs serve at the behest of the mayor unless otherwise specified by city ordinance. Stein, the former mayor, had worked out an agreement with Stambaugh forbidding termination without cause, but the city council never voted on it, Singleton ruled.

I'm curious: did McCain know about all this? Who vetted her?