Voters rejecting changes in oversight of state boards

Posted: Wednesday, November 08, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Alaska voters made it clear they did not want to change the governor's ability to make wholesale changes in the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.'s board of directors.

Voters also rejected an attempt to give legislators review power over Alaskans appointed by the governor to boards that manage ''significant state assets.''

With four-fifths of the state's precincts counted early Wednesday, more than 72 percent of voters were rejecting Ballot Measure No. 3.

Bob King, press spokesman for Gov. Tony Knowles, said the vote was not a surprise.

''I think there are adequate checks and balances that exist in the Constitution,'' King said. ''Absent a compelling reason, and I don't think there was, the public saw no reason to change those checks and balances.''

State Sen. Rick Halford, R-Chugiak, pushed the amendment as a way to maintain continuity in the management of the Permanent Fund Corp., a board that oversees billions of dollars in state assets.

The measure called for board members to continue being appointed by the governor without being reviewed by the Legislature. However, it would have banned their removal except for cause.

Knowles opposed the measure, contending that the change would infringe on his authority to appoint qualified people to the boards.

Both Knowles and former-Gov. Walter J. Hickel replaced all members of the Permanent Fund board when they took office, installing their own choices to oversee the state's massive oil-royalty savings account.

Halford contends such sudden upheavals are bad policy for the management of one of the state's most important assets.

Under current law, the six-member board includes two commissioners of principal state departments and four members from the public with experience in finance, investments, or other business-related areas. Trustees serve four-year terms.

The measure would apply mostly to the four public members because the two commissioners would normally turn over with a new administration, anyway.

The measure did not specify which boards of state-owned corporations other than the Permanent Fund that manage significant assets would have appointees subject to legislative approval.

Halford said he had the Alaska Housing Finance Corp., the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority and the Alaska Railroad Corp. in mind.

Halford said members of regulatory boards with far less are reviewed by legislators, but boards controlling hundreds of millions of dollars are not.

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