On March 9, 2009, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced four board appointments. The appointees will serve on the “Alaska Council on the Homeless, Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority, Alaska Veterans Advisory Council, and Local Boundary Commission” (Four Appointments, 2009, Â¶1).
What the Boards Do
“The [Council on the Homeless] is responsible for preparing an action plan for the governor aimed at addressing homelessness in the state, for monitoring implementation of that plan and for making annual reports to the governor with its findings and recommendations to improve the plan (Four Appointments, 2009, Â¶3).
“The seven-member [Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority] was created by statewide voter initiative in 2002. Its statutory mission is to develop a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to Prince William Sound or Cook Inlet” (Four Appointments, 2009, Â¶6).
“The 13-member [Alaska Veterans Advisory Council] advises the governor, the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and other state departments on matters concerning veterans, their dependents and their survivors, including identifying veterans’ needs and making recommendations on how to provide for them” (Four Appointments, 2009, Â¶9).
“The five-member [Local Boundary Commission] serves Alaska communities by acting on petitions for incorporation, dissolution, merger and consolidation of cities and boroughs, detachment from cities and boroughs, and reclassification of cities. The statewide commission also prepares studies of local government boundary problems” (Four Appointments, 2009, Â¶12).
Board Appointees’ Brief Biographies
Governor Palin appointed Olen Harris to the Alaska Council on the Homeless (Four Appointments, 2009, Â¶2).
Harris, of Anchorage, has since 1998 been the executive director of the North Pacific Housing Authority, the regional housing authority for Seward, Valdez, Cordova, Chenega, Tatitlek, Port Graham and Nanwalek. He had previously served as finance director for the Bristol Bay Housing Authority in Dillingham. Harris serves on the board of the Association of Alaska Housing Authorities, and has been treasurer since 2002. He is also on the board of the AMERIND Risk Management, a self-insurance risk pool for Indian housing authorities. Harris earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and in 2002 received a fellowship to attend a program for senior state and local government executives at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He was appointed to a public seat (Four Appointments, 2009, Â¶4).
Governor Palin appointed Pat Ryan to the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority (ANGDA) (Four Appointments, 2009, Â¶5).
Ryan, of Anchorage, is retired after an extensive career in public service in Alaska. He was a top aide and chief of staff to Walter J. Hickel during his two terms as Alaska’s governor – including the time of planning and permitting for the trans-Alaska pipeline – and during Hickel’s two years as U.S. Secretary of the Interior. Ryan had previously served as director of the state’s first rural development agency, which later became the Department of Community and Regional Affairs; as deputy commissioner of the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities; and as director of the state Division of Aviation. He was a U.S. Air Force pilot in Alaska. Ryan was appointed to a public seat on the authority (Four Appointments, 2009, Â¶7).
Governor Palin appointed Aaron Isaacs Jr. to the Alaska Veterans Advisory Council (Four Appointments, 2009, Â¶8).
Isaacs, of Klawock, is coalition coordinator for the Klawock Cooperative Association, and previously owned a construction, lumber and hardware business. He served in the Alaska Army National Guard from 1956-61 before being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1961, serving in the 82nd Airborne Division until 1963. He is a life member of the 82nd Airborne Division Association and the American Legion, a 12-year member and now president of Prince of Wales Veterans, and president of Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp #9 in Klawock. He served as director of the state’s Division of Equal Employment Opportunity from 1979-82; as mayor of Klawock from 1989-92; as a member of the State Commission for Human Rights from 1990-2002; and as a member of the Alaska Labor Relations Agency since 1992. He was appointed to a public seat on the council.
Governor Palin reappointed Robert Harcharek to the Local Boundary Commission (Four Appointments, 2009, Â¶11).
Harcharek, of Barrow, is currently mayor pro tem of Barrow. He has been a senior planner and social science researcher for the North Slope Borough since 1999. He previously worked as liaison for technical analysis and research for the Barrow mayor’s office from 1996-99; for the North Slope Borough as an economic development planner from 1991-96 and community affairs coordinator from 1988-90; and as director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Northwest Higher Education Center from 1986-88. Harcharek earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Pennsylvania’s Mansfield State University, a master’s of education from Syracuse University, and a doctorate in International and Development Education from the University of Pittsburgh. He has served on the commission since 2002, and was reappointed to a seat reserved for a member of the public from the 2nd Judicial District, encompassing Northwest Alaska and the North Slope.
Today’s four appointments bring this year’s total to 24, representing an average of two appointments per week. This is exclusive of the judicial appointments Governor Palin made last week. The Governor had made 99 board appointments in 2008, some while she was on the campaign trail.
Board appointees must have subject matter expertise and experience that will make them an asset to the boards on which they serve. They must have no personal or political baggage that could bring the Governor grief or disgrace later on. Governor Palin has a stellar track record in her hiring decisions. Board appointments seem routine and maybe that’s because Governor Palin has made it look so easy. Each board appointment requires a considerable amount of behind the scenes work — just one aspect in a day in the life of a governor.
A leader is only as good as his or her subordinates. Key to executing transformational change is picking subordinates who are aligned to the leader’s mission, vision, strategies and tactics. Governor Palin has over the past 16 years done precisely that in every position she has held.
Executing an average of two board appointments per week — along with all the other duties the Governor must perform — is a task requiring a considerable amount of executive skill and experience. While in some respect, Governor Palin is a born leader, she has had more than three quarters of two decades to hone this skill and instinct.
This skill along with her judicial appointments last week are just more pieces of evidence which prove that Governor Palin is ready to become President Palin.
Governor Palin announces board appointments. (2009, March 9). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved March 9, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1693