According to the Hat Thief (and the Anchorage Daily News’ archives), Palin faced a recall effort as mayor of Wasilla after firing police chief Irl Stambaugh and the city’s library director, Mary Ellen Emmons, in 1997. The reasons for the dismissals? The two had supported Palin’s mayoral opponent, John Stein.
The Seattle Times has more on Palin’s firing of Chief Stambaugh:
The drama splashed out across the front pages of the local newspaper, with the fallen police chief filing a lawsuit accusing Palin of canning him after he exercised his free-speech rights. Palin, a staunch supporter of the National Rifle Association, was unhappy that her police chief had spoken against a state bill to ease restrictions on Alaskans who carried concealed weapons, he said. And Palin, who had gained the backing of Wasilla bar owners in her mayoral campaign, also disliked the chief’s proposal to roll back tavern closing hours from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m.
So Stambaugh — a law enforcement officer — wanted slightly stronger gun-control, and he wanted bars to close earlier to prevent early morning work traffic and drunk drivers from mixing with disastrous results, and she fired him. Nice piece of work, that Palin. Certainly puts her firing of Walter Monegan in a different light, doesn’t it?