Former gubernatorial and legislative aide Christopher Clark spotted interesting statutory requirements for various commissioners, one of which highlights the unintended consequences of not having a Democratic gubernatorial ticket.
Because of state law, the Alaska Public Offices Commission, the agency which oversees the state’s campaign finance laws, will see its first Libertarian commissioner come March and another one in 2017. According to statute, partisan members of the five-member commission must belong to the two political parties that received the highest votes in the most recent gubernatorial election, which would be the Republican Party and the Libertarian Party. Currently, there’s two Republican and two Democratic members and one public member. Democrat Elizabeth Hickerson’s term expires March 1, 2015. Another Democratic seat, which expires in 2017, will also go to a Libertarian.
APOC, at least, is aware of the issue. It contacted the Libertarian Party to request a list of names. Chair Mike Chambers gave them four: Mark Fish, Ron Windler, Carloyn Clift and Bill McCord.
Clift ran for governor, and Fish, who appears to be the preferred nominee, ran for U.S. Senate last election.
I called Fish about his possible appointment, and wondered if his duties would conflict with his Libertarian philosophy of limited government.
“We aren’t anarchists,” he said. “We do believe in some government and holding public officials accountable is part of that.”
He said that if he were commissioner, he would push for more transparency and work to help to clarify the “byzantine” rules which can intimate people who want to serve. It’s a complaint often heard about APOC.
“I once asked if I had to put a ‘paid-for’ disclaimer on a balloon, and they had to think about it,” Fish said.
Some other interesting statutory requirements for commissioners:
The commissioner of education must be appointed by the board of education, and then be approved by the governor. The commissioner must have at least a master’s degree with at least five years of educational experience, three of which must be in administration.
The Board of the Department of Fish and Game also has a say in the way the Fish and Game commissioner is chosen. The governor chooses from a list of names that the board has submitted. Today, Gov. Bill Walker chose commercial fisherman and former Democratic legislator Sam Cotten as acting commissioner. Cotten’s deep ties to commercial fishing might cause some consternation among sports fishing advocates who sit on the board. However, the board often defers to the governor’s choice.
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