By Dave Donaldson
Legislators today rejected two of Governor Parnell’s appointments to governmental services while approving seventy two others – named to fill vacancies on Boards and Commissions as well as top-level cabinet jobs.
Among those receiving legislative approval were Daniel Sullivan as Attorney General, Thomas Katkus to head the Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs, and Larry Hartig – the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation – as the designee to fill the Lieutenant Governor’s office if a vacancy should occur.
The most opposition arose over the appointment of the Executive Director of the Pregnancy Resource Center in Fairbanks to fill a position on the Board of Nursing. Statutes require that the position be filled by an individual with recent work experience as a nurse. By a vote of thirty-four to twenty four, Nancy Bienvenue was rejected – with most of the debate centering on whether she met the statutory requirements for the job.
Opponents pointed out that, although Bienvenue was trained as a nurse, she has not worked as one since 1993. Statutes clearly require she would have needed to work for four years prior to meeting the qualifications.
Wrangell Republican Peggy Wilson – herself a nurse – agreed with the opposition
From what I understand she doesn’t supervise nurses, she supervises counselors. From what I’ve heard and what I understand, she is a very, very wonderful person. She’s done all kinds of things for the community, and the people there respect her very much. So, I’m not saying anything against that, I respect what she does in the job she does now, I think that is very admirable, but I really don’t think she is qualified. And because of that I’ll be casting a No vote.
The other appointee rejected by the Joint Session came as no surprise as Allen Barrette, of Fairbanks, was removed from the Board of Game.