On Monday, August 1, 2022, the Office of the Governor’s doors are visible from the third floor of the Alaska State Capitol located in Juneau, Alaska. (Image via Alaska Beacon/James Brooks)
Apparently, the governor’s administration enjoys listening to country music. Unable to dispute such decision. Country music talks about American heartbreaks and dreams. Folklore mixed with alcohol, grilled food, and broken hearts.
The songs’ telling of plausible or implausible human-interest tales, such as the well-known refrain “That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it,” is one of the things that contributes to its immense popularity.
Regretfully, the public is largely receiving the same response from Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office regarding his decisions behind twelve executive orders, all of which are set to go into force unless the Legislature rejects them by the middle of March.
While some of the orders may make sense, others would require significant adjustments and have raised many important concerns among the public and lawmakers.
But instead of going into specifics about the whys and hows, the governor’s administration is essentially adhering to their narrative: “Making state government as effective and efficient as possible is one of Governor Dunleavy’s top goals. Several executive orders move responsibilities from commissions and boards to the appropriate state department, which is optimal for effective administration.
That undoubtedly doesn’t cover any of the 12 orders’ specifics. It sounds wonderful, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the song, much like a repeating chord in a country song. The public is entitled to greater information and sincere justifications.
According to one of the executive orders, the governor would be the only person able to choose the nine members of the advisory board, as the Legislature’s power to name board members would no longer exist under state law.
The advisory board was established to provide oversight and a second opinion, not to oppose the administration’s motions. While giving the governor full control over appointments may be more efficient than giving it to the Legislature, this seems to be overlooked.
The Legislature established the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Advisory Council in 1982 to provide management guidance for the well-known attraction, which attracts tourists from all over the world to witness hundreds of eagles feasting on late-fall salmon runs close to Haines. However, one of the executive orders would dissolve the council. Reducing community participation in management choices may be effective, but it doesn’t seem to support cooperative resource management for the state.
Dunleavy also ordered the dissolution of the Wood-Tikchik State Park Management Council, which oversees around 1.6 million acres of property at Bristol Bay’s headwaters and offers local guidance. Representatives from the surrounding towns, villages, and tribes make up the council. The Department of Natural Resources would take up the council’s responsibilities. Effective, perhaps, but possibly inconsiderate to the community.
More justifications for the executive orders ought to be given by the governor’s office so that lawmakers can determine whether to support or oppose the measures.
In order for the public to judge whether or not they enjoy the song, they also ought to hear more of the governor’s story.