Gov. Frank Murkowski today appointed commissioners to the state departments of revenue, environmental conservation, health and social services, corrections, and labor and workforce development.
Juneau resident Bill Corbus will head the Department of Revenue and Greg O'Claray, also of Juneau, will head the Department of Labor.
Ernesta Ballard, a former chief executive officer for the Cape Fox Corp., will serve as commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Joel Gilbertson, legislative counsel and legislative director for Murkowski in Washington, D.C., will head the Department of Health and Social Services. Marc Antrim, a longtime employee of the Department of Corrections, was promoted to commissioner.
With about half of his cabinet heads named, Murkowski still must appoint commissioners to the departments of administration, community and economic development, education and early development, fish and game, military and veterans affairs, natural resources, public safety, and transportation. Murkowski said his requirement that commissioners live in Juneau has eliminated some applicants for the positions.
Corbus, a former president and general manager for Alaska Electric Light and Power Co., is president of Alaska Energy and Resources Co., AEL&P's parent company, where he has served since 1988.
"What we have here is a gentleman with a solid, stable background in the management of financial resources, which, I think, is going to stand us well in these rather difficult times as Wall Street readjusts and the economy readjusts," Murkowski said of Corbus.
Calling the Department of Labor a "moribund, highly politicized agency," Murkowski said he asked O'Claray to make the agency more responsive to the needs of Alaskans, particularly young Alaskans.
O'Claray is the director of legislative and governmental affairs for the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, an AFL-CIO affiliate representing engineers working on Alaska ferries, trade oil tankers and other commercial vessels.
"I want to make sure that everybody understands that coming from a labor background, (O'Claray) understands the necessity of providing, within Alaska, a balanced program that suggests that what is in the best interest of resource development and jobs also goes in the line of promoting the activities of federal and state funding that goes into the makeup of the Department of Labor," Murkowski said.
Murkowski named Ed Fisher, a Ketchikan business manager and consultant, to serve as O'Claray's deputy commissioner.
Timothy Inklebarger can be reached at email@example.com.