Board of Fisheries seat open again after Ruffner rejection

Gov. Bill Walker has yet another appointment to make to a shorthanded Board of Fisheries, and this time the Legislature won’t be in the equation.

After the second of his two board nominations failed to replace resigned chairman Karl Johnstone, Walker will have to appoint a new name from a long list of applicants by May 19. There is no official call for applicants, but any applicants are recommended to submit resumes to the governor’s Boards and Commissions office no later that May 15.

There will be no confirmation hearing for whomever Walker nominates to the vacant seat. That person will serve as a fully powered out-of-session appointee for the year until the 2016 legislative confirmation hearing.

This upcoming Board of Fisheries cycle is entirely dedicated to finfish, which includes salmon. The board has meetings scheduled for Bristol Bay, Arctic/Yukon/Kuskokwim, Alaska Peninsula/Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands/Chignik, and statewide finfish from October 2015 through March 2016.

The Legislature voted 30-29 against confirming Walker’s Board of Fisheries nominee Robert Ruffner during the end of session confirmation hearing on April 19.

Walker nominated Ruffner to the position following the resignation of Karl Johnstone as the board chair and subsequent withdrawal by Roland Maw after criminal charges were filed against him in Montana over receiving resident hunting and fishing licenses.

In the midst of Ruffner’s rejection, Board of Fisheries subsistence representative Orville Huntington was confirmed to renew his seat, set to expire on June 30.

The list of nominees has grown since Maw’s February withdrawal.

Maw’s resignation came just before his confirmation hearing’s conclusion on the morning of Feb. 20, and several applicants submitted resumes within days of the withdrawal and in one case the day before.

Dwight Kramer submitted his application on Feb. 19, Robert Ruffner on Feb. 20, Roberta “Bobbi” Quintavell on Feb. 22, and Rodger Painter on Feb. 23.

Jeffrey Fox, Chris Paul Every, Frank Kelty, Henry Kroll, Thomas Henry Sullivan, Jr., Bob Mumford, and Bruce Morgan have submitted names since then. Mumford submitted his application on April 22 after Ruffner’s rejection April 19, and Morgan resubmitted his application on April 27.

The applicants have varying degrees of fisheries management experience from different sectors of industry.

Sen. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, referred to Quintavell as his preferred nominee during his remarks at Ruffner’s confirmation hearing. Stoltze did not refer to Quintavell by name, but did make mention of female candidate with a Harvard degree who ran “one of the most successful companies in Alaska,” and now lives in Anchorage. According to Boards and Commissions applicant listings, she is the only name that fits.

Stoltze said during his speech that Walker and the Boards and Commissions office had interviewed Quintavell and rejected her based on internal opposition.

“There was a very aggressive internal effort to make sure that she was really discredited,” said Stoltze in session. “Our approved Department of Fish and Game and high levels of government said ‘oh, well, she’s not very smart.’ It was really gratuitous to beat her up in order to prop up (Ruffner), and that’s really all it was.”

Quintavell received a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Alaska in 1997 and a master’s degree certificate in executive program management development from Harvard Graduate School of Business in 2001.

Formerly, Quintavell served as vice president and chief operating officer of Alaska Native regional corporation Doyon Ltd., and as president and CEO of Arctic Slope Regional Corp.

Quintavell appeared shortly in a promotional video entitled “Save Our Kings,” produced in 2013 by Kenai River Sportfishing Association, or KRSA.

In the video, Quintavell expresses her love of king salmon fishing and the importance of the fish to her cultural identity as an Alaska Native. The video was played before a Senate Resources Committee “State of the Salmon” hearing on March 26, 2014. The video link on KRSA’s website is broken, but the clip can be viewed in the Gavel Alaska archives or on YouTube.

Dwight Kramer serves as chairman of the Kenai Area Fisherman’s Coalition, a Peninsula interest group representing unguided recreational fishermen. In the past, Kramer has written opinion pieces for Alaska media urging more in-river protections for Kenai River king salmon.

In 2014, Kramer advocated establishing a professional Board of Fisheries before the Alaska Senate Resources Committee.

“It has become apparent to many that our current Board of Fish process does not possess the technical knowledge and sometimes internal integrity to accomplish decisions based on science and available technical data,” said Kramer to the committee.

He was among several speakers who said some board members arrived at the February 2014 Cook Inlet session with preconceived agendas.

“The current Board of Fish process is swayed too easily by the most prominent and powerful groups and often give in to political pressure, innuendo and fabricated statements rather than scientific information,” Kramer said.

Bruce Morgan, who works for Sampson Steel, formerly served as chairman of the Anchorage Fish and Game Advisory Committee, one of 84 such committees from which the Board of Fisheries receives public input and proposals.

Bob Mumford currently serves as a member of the Alaska Board of Game. His term expires on June 30. He formerly served on the Big Game Commercial Services Board, and now serves as the Board of Game representative on that board.

Henry Kroll is a Soldotna resident, author, and commercial fisherman.

Frank Kelty is the former mayor and current natural resources director of Unalaska. He is frequently involved in fisheries policy on behalf of the commercial fishing and processing interests from which Unalaska draws much of its municipal funding, supporting rationalization programs for both the Bering Sea pollock and crab rationalization plans.

He formerly worked for Alyeska Seafoods, is former president of the Marine Conservation Alliance, and current chairman of the area Fish and Game Advisory Committee.

Roy Ashenfelter of Nome served for 20 years on the Northern Norton Sound Advisory Committee, among other committees and game workgroups, with a heavy focus on subsistence issues. Ashenfelter was a key player in reviving the Norton Sound crab fishery.

Ketchikan’s Robert Sanderson serves on the Southeast Villages portion of the Alaska Federation of Natives, as well as president of the Ketchikan Tlingit & Haida Community Council and the vice president of the Ketchikan Indian Community Tribal Council

Glenn Carlo serves as staff of the fish and game section of the Tanana Chiefs Conference, Huntington’s employer.

Beverly Hoffman of Bethel is co-chair of the Kuskokwim Salmon Management Working group, and a lifelong subsistence fisher and Orutsaramuit tribal member. She has advocated for further conservation measures for king salmon.

Karen Linnell of Glenallen is chair of the Ahtna Intertribal Resource Conservation District, and has advocated for greater tribal representation in subsistence and lands management.

Fairbanks trapper Allen Barrette has also submitted his name. Barrette was narrowly rejected from Alaska Board of Game appointment by the legislature in 2010 after having received a nomination by then-Gov. Sean Parnell.

Robert Charles Wright of Tanana, and regular on Discover’s docu-series Yukon Men, has also submitted his name for board appointment.

DJ Summers can be reached at [email protected].

11/20/2016 - 8:45am