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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Gov. Mike Dunleavy has signed a contract with the wife of a Republican legislator and the owner of an Anchorage advertising, marketing and political strategy firm to work as his acting communications director.

Mary Ann Pruitt’s contract with the Republican governor’s administration calls for her to be paid $15,400 a month, or $185,000 a year, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported .

Pruitt is president of PS Strategies. She is married to Rep. Lance Pruitt.

Dunleavy also signed a contract with Mike Nizich, the former chief of staff to Republican governors Sarah Palin and Sean Parnell. Nizich was hired to review the state Constitution, laws and regulations, consult with Dunleavy and senior staffers and analyze budgets and organizational structures.

His two-month contract is capped at $34,500. Nizich declined comment on the contract.

Dunleavy spokesman Matt Shuckerow said Pruitt’s contract does not have an end date but that Pruitt does not plan to permanently stay in the job.

“Her contract is focused on building out the governor’s communications team and the messaging behind his agenda,” he said by email.

Pruitt remains sole owner and president of Anchorage-based PS Strategies, according to documents filed with the state Division of Corporations. Pruitt said she still has “some involvement,” but that it entails limited oversight work such as approving payroll.

“My main focus right now is in the governor’s office,” said Pruitt,

She does not see her outside work conflicting with her state job, she said. Most of the firm’s clients are from outside of Alaska, she said.

The state contract calls for her to work 37.5 hours a week, without benefits or vacation. In a phone interview Friday, Pruitt said she’s working 12 hours a day.

PS Strategies creates advertising campaigns and helps clients decide where and how to broadcast them. The firm worked for a super-PAC type group that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads on Dunleavy’s behalf during the gubernatorial election, with support from the Washington D.C.-based Republican Governors Association.

The firm’s website lists past clients that include the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, an oil and mining industry group, telecommunications firms GCI and Alaska Communications and environmental and health care organizations.

Pruitt did not list the firm’s current clients on her official financial disclosure. Officials at the Public Offices Commission said they are assessing a request by Pruitt’s attorney that she be exempted from identifying those clients.


Information from: KTOO-FM,