Legislature(2017 - 2018)SENATE FINANCE 532

03/15/2017 09:00 AM FINANCE

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Audio Topic
09:31:07 AM Start
09:31:42 AM Confirmation Hearings: Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority Board of Trustees and University of Alaska Board of Regents
09:58:25 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Meeting Postponed to 9:30 a.m. --
-- Time Change --
+ Confirmation Hearings: TELECONFERENCED
State Assessment Review Board - Wendy Lawrence
Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority Board of
Trustees - Christopher Cooke
University of Alaska Board of Regents - Karen
Perdue and Mary Hughes
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                 SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                      March 15, 2017                                                                                            
                         9:31 a.m.                                                                                              
9:31:07 AM                                                                                                                    
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair MacKinnon called the Senate Finance Committee                                                                          
meeting to order at 9:31 a.m.                                                                                                   
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Lyman Hoffman, Co-Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Anna MacKinnon, Co-Chair                                                                                                
Senator Click Bishop, Vice-Chair                                                                                                
Senator Mike Dunleavy                                                                                                           
Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                          
Senator Donny Olson                                                                                                             
Senator Natasha von Imhof                                                                                                       
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Christopher Cooke, Appointee; Karen Perdue, Appointee;                                                                          
CONFIRMATION HEARINGS:                                                                                                          
     ALASKA MENTAL HEALTH TRUST AUTHORITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES                                                                     
     UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA BOARD OF REGENTS                                                                                      
^CONFIRMATION   HEARINGS:   ALASKA   MENTAL   HEALTH   TRUST                                                                  
AUTHORITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES and UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA BOARD                                                                    
OF REGENTS                                                                                                                    
9:31:42 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair MacKinnon noted that Wendy Lawrence had resigned                                                                       
from the State Assessment Review Board, and was removed                                                                         
from the agenda.                                                                                                                
CHRISTOPHER COOKE,  APPOINTEE, discussed  his qualifications                                                                    
for the  Alaska Mental Health Trust  Authority (AMHTA) Board                                                                    
of  Trustees.  He  referred  to  a letter  he  had  sent  to                                                                    
individual legislators,  briefly outlining his  interest and                                                                    
qualifications in  the AMHTA board  (copy on file).  He felt                                                                    
that  his almost  50 years  of experience  in Alaska  was an                                                                    
important  part  of  his   qualifications.  He  referred  to                                                                    
working  and  living in  rural  Alaska  as an  attorney  for                                                                    
Alaska  Legal Services,  and as  a private  practitioner. He                                                                    
was a Superior Court judge for ten years.                                                                                       
Mr. Cooke continued to  discuss his qualifications, relaying                                                                    
that  after  his  retirement he  became  interested  in  the                                                                    
board. He thought membership on the  board would be a way to                                                                    
contribute to the state that  he and his family called home.                                                                    
He  knew  that  the  state  had  serious  and  long-standing                                                                    
problems in  the mental health  area, and  acknowledged that                                                                    
there was  a wide variety  of issues and concerns.  He hoped                                                                    
he could  help address some  of the issues through  the work                                                                    
of the trust.                                                                                                                   
9:34:54 AM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Cooke continued,  explaining that he had  been in Bethel                                                                    
the  previous  week to  celebrate  the  50th anniversary  of                                                                    
Alaska Legal  Services. He recalled that  he had encountered                                                                    
a program that was funded  by the trust authority, and spoke                                                                    
with a  colleague about the  concept of  "holistic defense."                                                                    
He  explained  the  concept whereby  a  civil  attorney  was                                                                    
placed with the Public Defender  Agency to work with clients                                                                    
on  civil issues.  He discussed  the myriad  of issues  that                                                                    
could  be   experienced  by  public  defender   clients.  He                                                                    
discussed  the  fact  that  civil  attorneys  could  make  a                                                                    
difference in  people's lives through  assisting individuals                                                                    
to improve their lives. He mused  that the work of the trust                                                                    
authority  was  very worthwhile,  and  he  thought he  could                                                                    
contribute.  He thought  his judicial  and legal  experience                                                                    
would be an asset to the board.                                                                                                 
9:37:01 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Hoffman expressed  appreciation  that Mr.  Cooke's                                                                    
grandchildren had the surname of  Hoffman. He asked Mr. Cook                                                                    
what  he could  offer  the people  of  Western Alaska  while                                                                    
serving  on the  board of  trustees. He  mentioned that  the                                                                    
area  of the  state had  many social  problems and  that Mr.                                                                    
Cooke would  potentially be the  board member with  the most                                                                    
experience in the area.                                                                                                         
Mr. Cooke  discussed the constituency in  Co-Chair Hoffman's                                                                    
district and  envisioned a need for  information and access.                                                                    
He noted that  many agencies were located  in urban centers,                                                                    
which presented  a challenge for  outreach in  rural Alaska.                                                                    
He thought there  were communication barriers and  a lack of                                                                    
understanding   of   language,    terminology,   and   state                                                                    
structure.  He  hoped  to   encourage  programs  that  would                                                                    
provide  more  access to  rural  Alaskans  who qualified  as                                                                    
beneficiaries of the trust.                                                                                                     
Mr. Cook continued to speak  to Co-Chair Hoffman's question.                                                                    
He mentioned  individuals with disabilities,  people dealing                                                                    
with   Alzheimer's  and   dementia,   people  with   chronic                                                                    
substance  abuse problems,  those  suffering from  traumatic                                                                    
brain  injury, and  other  categories  of beneficiaries.  He                                                                    
thought it  was more difficult  for rural Alaskans  to learn                                                                    
about services  that could alleviate  some of the  issues he                                                                    
9:39:52 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator von Imhof thought Mr.  Cooke clearly had familiarity                                                                    
with mental health issues and  programs that were available.                                                                    
She  wondered  if  he  had   a  perspective  on  the  recent                                                                    
direction of the board to invest more in real estate.                                                                           
Mr. Cook  stated that  he was somewhat  aware of  the issue,                                                                    
and  recognized that  the subject  was complex.  He pondered                                                                    
that the  trust land base  had a purpose to  provide revenue                                                                    
and  support  for  programs  to  advance  the  comprehensive                                                                    
mental health plan of Alaska  to serve the beneficiaries. He                                                                    
acknowledged  that  there   were  issues  and  controversies                                                                    
pertaining to  how the  mental health  trust land  was being                                                                    
used  and managed.  He thought  that the  issues were  being                                                                    
addressed  in  a number  of  ways;  by review,  through  the                                                                    
legislative  budget   and  audit  process,  and   with  some                                                                    
clarifying legislation  that might  be proposed. He  did not                                                                    
have enough information to suggest  a remedy or advocate for                                                                    
a specific change. He thought  that the matter would involve                                                                    
significant legal issues, and  hoped that his background and                                                                    
experience would contribute to the dialog.                                                                                      
9:42:14 AM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Bishop  FORWARDED the appointment  of Christopher                                                                    
Cooke  to a  Joint Session  for consideration  in accordance                                                                    
with Alaska Statute.  He relayed that it did  not reflect an                                                                    
intent by  any member Senate  Finance Committee to  vote for                                                                    
or  against the  confirmation of  the individual  during any                                                                    
further sessions.                                                                                                               
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
9:42:58 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:44:54 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair MacKinnon noted that  Appointee Mary Kay Hughes was                                                                    
unable to be in committee.                                                                                                      
9:45:39 AM                                                                                                                    
KAREN  PERDUE, APPOINTEE,  discussed her  qualifications for                                                                    
the University of Alaska (UA)  Board of Regents. She resided                                                                    
in Fairbanks  and was a  lifelong Alaskan.  She acknowledged                                                                    
that the  late United  States Senator  Ted Stevens  had been                                                                    
her mentor. She worked for  the senator early in her career,                                                                    
after which she worked for  Terry Miller. She began her role                                                                    
in state government in the  1980s and served four governors,                                                                    
culminating  in  working  for 8  years  as  commissioner  of                                                                    
Department  of Health  and Social  Services. She  emphasized                                                                    
that when she was commissioner, the  price of oil was $9 per                                                                    
barrel,  and she  had learned  the importance  of motivating                                                                    
and  working  with  individuals  who  were  committed  to  a                                                                    
mission  while  working  through financial  difficulty.  She                                                                    
thought it  was important to appreciate  those who committed                                                                    
their lives to a mission of an agency.                                                                                          
Ms. Perdue  continued discussing her  qualifications, noting                                                                    
that she returned to Fairbanks  in 2001, when she served for                                                                    
ten years  as Associate  Vice President  of UA  under former                                                                    
President Mark Hamilton. She  worked primarily responding to                                                                    
industry  needs in  the healthcare  field.  She worked  with                                                                    
faculty to  develop the current  nursing model, which  was a                                                                    
highly accredited  and successful  program. She  worked with                                                                    
every  campus  on  academic  planning  and  learned  of  the                                                                    
importance  of a  university  in  economic development.  She                                                                    
appreciated the  role of students  that stayed in  state for                                                                    
higher education, and were skilled consumers.                                                                                   
9:48:49 AM                                                                                                                    
Ms. Perdue highlighted  that she was a member  of the Denali                                                                    
Commission as  well as the  board of Alaska  Housing Finance                                                                    
Corporation  (AHFC). She  thought it  was relevant  that she                                                                    
was CEO of a board  of hospital administrators. She asserted                                                                    
that she  had learned the difference  between management and                                                                    
governance from both sides.                                                                                                     
Ms. Perdue reminded that the UA  Board of Regents was one of                                                                    
the few boards named in  the state constitution, and thought                                                                    
that the  framers of the  state intended  the board to  be a                                                                    
powerful oversight  of a one-state university.  She followed                                                                    
that  the  constitution allowed  for  the  board to  provide                                                                    
guidance, and to  hire a president. She  considered that the                                                                    
board  had  an  obligation  to   work  in  tandem  with  the                                                                    
president to administer the system.                                                                                             
Ms.  Perdue  remarked  that UA  was  facing  huge  financial                                                                    
pressure and declining enrollment.  She knew the regents and                                                                    
the  president would  be making  many  tough decisions.  She                                                                    
emphasized the importance of managing  the situation so that                                                                    
students believed  there would  be a quality  institution in                                                                    
the future, that provided  quality education and world-class                                                                    
research.  She   thought  if  UA  lost   the  confidence  of                                                                    
students, it  would lose enrollment and  it would contribute                                                                    
to a  deficit situation.  She concluded  that she  wanted to                                                                    
meaningfully  participate   in  making  sure  UA   made  the                                                                    
transition to survive for another 100 years.                                                                                    
9:51:00 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Hoffman asked how Ms.  Perdue saw the role of rural                                                                    
campuses  in  the University  system  currently  and in  the                                                                    
Ms.  Perdue discussed  the concept  that  students who  were                                                                    
place-committed  were an  asset. She  explained that  it was                                                                    
possible  to  think  of  ways  of  delivering  education  to                                                                    
students who would take on  roles in the community (teacher,                                                                    
nurse, etc.). She  thought that UA had proven  that it could                                                                    
deliver  complex  information  in a  variety  of  innovative                                                                    
ways;  such as  distance  delivery,  intensive cohorts,  and                                                                    
evening classes.  She thought the examples  allowed students                                                                    
to pursue education while maintaining their lifestyle.                                                                          
9:52:30 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair MacKinnon asked Ms. Perdue  to comment on strategic                                                                    
pathways. She  referred to testimony in  meetings concerning                                                                    
the budget.                                                                                                                     
Ms. Perdue  explained that strategic  pathways began  a year                                                                    
and a half previously, as  a framework for the president and                                                                    
Board of  Regents to take  on many  areas of study.  Some of                                                                    
were  administrative and  some were  academic. She  received                                                                    
feedback in the regents meeting  was that the academic areas                                                                    
had  varied   success,  but  the  administrative   areas  of                                                                    
strategic pathways had been  quite successful. She explained                                                                    
that  the administrative  area  included  enrollment and  IT                                                                    
services. She  recalled that the strategic  pathways process                                                                    
had evolved to include  more stakeholders, including faculty                                                                    
and  students. She  thought the  strategic pathways  process                                                                    
had tried  to address  some of the  process issues  that had                                                                    
been raised.                                                                                                                    
9:53:56 AM                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair Bishop FORWARDED the  appointment of Karen Perdue                                                                    
and Mary Kay Hughes to  a Joint Session for consideration in                                                                    
accordance  with Alaska  Statute. He  relayed that  this did                                                                    
not  reflect   an  intent  by  any   member  Senate  Finance                                                                    
Committee to  vote for  or against  the confirmation  of the                                                                    
individuals during any further sessions.                                                                                        
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
9:54:33 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:56:12 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair MacKinnon acknowledged  that Larry Norene, Trustee,                                                                    
Alaska Mental Health  Trust Authority had been  in the room.                                                                    
She  wanted  to  recognize  his service  to  the  people  of                                                                    
Co-Chair  MacKinnon pointed  out  the  Senator Micciche  had                                                                    
raised a  significant amount of  funds for the Food  Bank of                                                                    
Senator Micciche stated that he served as auctioneer at a                                                                       
fundraising event for the food bank. He noted that Co-Chair                                                                     
Hoffman's spouse baked an item for auction.                                                                                     
Co-Chair MacKinnon discussed the afternoon schedule. She                                                                        
relayed that the 1:00pm meeting would be postponed until                                                                        
9:58:25 AM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 9:58 a.m.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Alaska Mental Health Trust.pdf SFIN 3/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
Confirmations 2017
State Assessment Review Board 43.56.040.pdf SFIN 3/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
Confirmations 2017
University of Alaska Board of Regents 14.40.120.pdf SFIN 3/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
Confirmations 2017
UA Regents - Perdue.pdf SFIN 3/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
Confirmations 2017
Hughes Letter to Sen. MacKinnon 2017.03.11.pdf SFIN 3/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
Confirmations 2017
SFC 2017 Confirmation Information Packet 1.pdf SFIN 3/15/2017 9:00:00 AM
Confirmations 2017