The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. on Thursday rejected even looking at moving its headquarters to Anchorage.
The board of trustees for the $39 billion state savings account voted 4-1 to decline further study of a move from Juneau, where its 32 employees are now based.
Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho praised the trustees' action.
"I think that the issue is certainly dead, at least with the present configuration of the trustees," he said.
Trustee Carl Brady of Anchorage, long an advocate of moving the permanent fund to the state's largest city, was the only dissenting vote.
Trustee Pat Galvin, who also serves as commissioner of the Department of Revenue for Gov. Sarah Palin, led the opposition to the move.
Even discussing the move could be disruptive to what he called "an exceptional organization." That could hurt its ability to hire and retain employees, he said.
"There is an old adage: If it's not broken, don't fix it," Galvin said.
"In this particular instance, just discussing what the fix would be is as potentially damaging as attempting to fix it," he said.
Galvin also questioned whether anything was actually broken.
Juneau Sen. Kim Elton said Gov. Sarah Palin opposed the relocation as well and deserves praise along with Galvin.
"I think we owe the governor, also," he said.
"She let me know that Pat Galvin was going to stand tall for Juneau," he said.
Corporation Executive Director Mike Burns told the board he believed 50 percent to 75 percent of the staff would leave if there was a move to Anchorage.
Brady said it was "not a question whether it is broken, but whether it can be enhanced."
Brady made a last attempt at keeping the issue alive by suggesting delaying action until the board's September meeting when absent commissioner Emil Notti would be present.
Board Chairman Steven Frank of Fairbanks opposed continuing to talk about the issue.
"It's too much disruption," he said. "I think we should deal with the issues today."
Galvin said rejecting the move idea Thursday would send a message of stability to the staff.
He also said moving the fund's offices would send a message outside Alaska that contradicts another message the state is trying to send.
"In many ways, in today's marketplace, location isn't the driving factor in success," he said. "Alaska needs to be out there as a driving force as a proponent of that message."
Brady, a former Republican legislator from Anchorage, last year proposed moving the headquarters from Juneau to Anchorage. While that proposal failed to garner support at the time, the concept took on new life late in the year with the issuance of a public policy group report recommending a move.
Anchorage's Commonwealth North suggested that the fund needed to move to a bigger city to be closer to financial markets.
Commonwealth North's report said moving the permanent fund's corporate offices to Anchorage could help nurture that city's financial industry, which already includes two firms managing permanent fund money.
That report prompted trustee Bill Moran of Ketchikan to suggest a study be done to look at the costs of a move.
Thursday, Burns provided the trustees with information on how consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle would go about such a study, and asked whether the board wanted him to go forward with seeking formal proposals.
Moran said Thursday his request for a study was not to advocate for a move, but to reach a point where the move issue was "put to bed." He wound up supporting Galvin's motion opposing the move.
The board typically holds its meetings at various locations around the state, and met Wednesday and Thursday in Anchorage.
Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or email@example.com.
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