Agency improvement gets legislative praise

Posted: Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Juneau business leader who last year entered state government service was praised Wednesday for improving the Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing.

The complements came both from Susan Bell, Commissioner of the Department of Commerce and Economic Development, and Rep. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, during a meeting of the House Finance Committee Wednesday. Stoltze is co-chairman of that committee.

Stoltze singled out for praise Don Habeger, the division’s director, for the work he’s done since taking charge of the division last summer.

“You’ve got a pretty good guy there who has cleaned up a pretty sloppy shop,” he said.

Those problems, which he declined to specify other than delays in licensing, spanned past administrations, Stoltze said.

Bell said she was glad the legislators had noticed the improvements.

Stoltze said he’d like to see more changes, including moving the division from being classified as a consumer protection agency to an economic development agency within the Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development.

“I hope that we can improve even more,” he said. “I hate to see government slowing things down.”

Speeding licensing and permitting can improve the economy, he said.

Habeger is a former Royal Caribbean Lines and Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska employee, and has worked for the Port of Juneau as well. He most recently served as legislative assistant for former Rep. Jay Ramras, R-Fairbanks.

He has been an Alaska resident since 1979, according to information the department provided when he was appointed.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or

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