New Alaska hearing officer, a former Washington County judge, quits abruptly amid review
ANCHORAGE — A former Pennsylvania judge hired in Alaska as a workers' compensation hearing officer was under review regarding his Alaska residency — a requirement for the job — before he abruptly quit, according to state documents.
Paul Pozonsky, 57, resigned from the Alaska position Dec. 6 after two months on the job. He has declined to comment.
His hiring was approved Sept. 2 for an annual salary of $79,464, more than $12,000 over the compensation listed in the job posting. That posting also contained a provision that it was open to “Alaska Residents Only,” according to documents obtained by The Anchorage Daily News after a records request.
Pozonsky was a judge in Washington County for more than 28 years when he announced June 29 that he would retire the next day.
The previous month, President Judge Debbie O'Dell Seneca reassigned Pozonsky to preside over only civil court cases. Seneca made the move after Pozonsky ordered the destruction of evidence in more than a dozen criminal drug cases.
Pozonsky vacated the destruction order after prosecutors pointed out that defendants had due process rights regarding their property, but evidence was destroyed.
The Alaska Division of Workers' Compensation administers disputes between workers and employers over medical insurance claims and benefits, which generate about 30,000 cases annually. Only about 300 reach a hearing before a three-person panel that includes a hearing officer.
Five people applied for the hearing officer job last summer. Not all met minimum requirements, and the state extended recruitment to Aug. 13.
An editorial page columnist in December questioned Pozonsky's hiring.
According to state documents, Department of Labor officials were checking on Pozonsky's residency on the day before he resigned.
State Labor Commissioner Dianne Blumer has acknowledged that the recruitment process for the hearing officer post “appears to have failed.” She said neither she nor Gov. Sean Parnell was involved in Pozonsky's hiring.
The Anchorage Daily Newscontributed to this report.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Home sellers are able to remain mum about violent crimes committed there
- Observers mixed on grid backup amid carbon rules, natural gas uncertainty
- Construction of $500M power plant in South Huntingdon stalled
- Armed doctor’s actions in Philly shooting reinvigorates debate on gun-carry
- Upper St. Clair family’s efforts pay off as governor signs Down syndrome education bill