This is no time to quibble.
Alaska needs its leadership in place most years, but especially in a year with all of the new challenges brought about because of the response to the novel coronavirus.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy and legislative leadership are at odds over the validity of his Department of Revenue commissioner and board appointments.
The Legislature hasn't convened to confirm them. The governor, despite being told by the legislative leadership that it doesn't have the votes to convene, has declined to call a special session.
Perhaps neither want to be responsible for a spread of the coronavirus in connection with such a session. That makes sense.
But, Alaskans have figured out a way to conduct many types of business since COVID-19 struck. It's called videoconferencing. It's simple and effective in accomplishing what needs to be done in unusual circumstances as witnessed this year.
The Legislature should be able to apply Zoom or some other form of electronic communication in order to carry on the state's business, completely eliminating the possibility of a virus spread while in session.
Indeed, as of Thursday, at least 24 state legislatures have authorized changes in legislative operations and procedures — including remote voting and meetings — becasue of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alaska’s Legislature came close in May, when the Senate approved a resolution allowing legislators to attend a session remotely by videoconference or teleconference. However, the House had adjourned already and did not conduct a vote on a similar resolution. Still, Sen. President Cathy Geissel has noted that tools and infrastructure are already in place to conduct a session remotely, and outlined a procedure for doing so at present.
So, instead of quibbling over why the appointments can't be done or Dunleavy touting his authority to legitimize them, the two branches of government should figure out how to make a confirmation process come about. It's how leaders handle responsibility.
The position of Revenue commissioner is important every year, but even more so than way back when when the state didn't have financial challenges of the kind and magnitude it does. As for the appointments, many are Alaskans volunteering their time and service. Needless to say, but stating it anyway, their willingness should be encouraged with confirmation — or at least a hearing of their qualifications.
Also, lack of confirmation could lead to legal challenges to the business and decisions made by unconfirmed state appointees.
The fiddle-faddling around is a waste of time. Save the time. It can be put to a productive use.