The Alaska Redistricting Board named Ron Miller of Anchorage as its executive director Monday to guide it through the process of drawing new legislative districts for the state.
Miller, a former executive director the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority and the Alaska Energy Authority will begin work today, said John Torgerson, chairman of the board.
"We have a lot of work to do in a short period of time and it is important to get started right away," Torgerson said.
The appointment will likely last about two years, through the reapportionment process and the nearly inevitable legal challenges.
Torgerson said the board was confident it picked the right person for the challenging, and almost certainly controversial, job.
"He'll be a great executive director," Torgerson said.
Miller, an attorney, had been a member of the redistricting planning committee, which has been meeting for months to begin laying groundwork for the redistricting effort, including arranging office space in Anchorage, buying computers and obtaining redistricting software.
He was appointed to that committee by House Speaker Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski.
Juneau legislative aide Linda Hay, who served on the redistricting committee with Miller, said the board chose someone who was already very knowledgeable about the challenges facing the Redistricting Board.
"I think he's done an excellent job for them," Hay said.
Torgerson said the board has only 30 days after receiving the census data on which the new district boundaries will be drawn, and must have a final plan within 90 days of receiving the data.
They expect to receive the census data no later than April 1 of next year, Torgerson said.
Prior to that time they'll have to hire and train staff, including training for the staff and board on specialized redistricting software.
The next major appointment by the Redistricting Board is an attorney to represent it. Torgerson said the board is in the process of reviewing law firms' responses to a request for proposals. It expects to name its legal representation within 10 days, he said.
The Redistricting Board is established by the Alaska Constitution and needs its own attorney as its constituency is broader than just the state's Department of Law, which reports to the governor.
Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.