Fish and Game boards stumped over commissioner

Posted: Sunday, March 02, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) -- The boards that oversee fishing and hunting in Alaska are at an impasse over their nominations for the next Fish and Game Commissioner.

After a teleconference earlier this week, the state Board of Game and Board of Fisheries were unable to agree on a candidate to forward to Gov. Frank Murkowski for consideration.

Outgoing Board of Game member Julie Maier said the fish board narrowed its search to two candidates while the game board favors only one.

The Fairbanks News-Miner reported in its Friday editions that the two candidates under consideration are Acting Fish and Game Commissioner Kevin Duffy and John Hilsinger.

The fish board favors both Duffy and Hilsinger while the game board backs Hilsinger, the newspaper reported.

Duffy was appointed acting commissioner for the state Department of Fish and Game by Murkowski in December. He has been with the department since 1981 and is a former deputy commissioner.

Duffy is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a master's degree in Public Administration.

Hilsinger is backed by the Alaska Outdoor Council, which lauded his scientific and technical background, said Jesse VanderSanden, executive director of the council.

Hilsinger worked for the department for more than 20 years and is currently on contract as a fisheries technician, VanderSanden said.

''He's been around for a long time, he's got a lot of experience,'' he said.

Murkowski spoke favorably of Duffy at a press conference earlier this month.

A Murkowski spokesman said the governor has not expressed a preference for a permanent commissioner. ''I know that he's certainly happy with the work that Kevin is doing as an acting commissioner,'' said press spokesman John Manly.

No dates have been set for when the boards will meet to resume discussions.

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