ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 174
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
February 20, 1998
I, Tony Knowles, Governor of the State of Alaska, under the
authority of art. III, secs. 1 and 24, of the Alaska Constitution,
establish the Commission on Rural Alaska Governance and Empowerment
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
The interest of Alaskans in governance in rural Alaska has
been recently renewed, in part by the Venetie case, (Alaska
v. Native Village of Venetie Tribal Government, 101 F. 3d
1286 (9th Cir. 1996) cert. granted, 117 S. Ct. 2478, 138
L. Ed. 2d 987 (U.S. June 23, 1997)No. 96 - 1577), currently pending
before the United States Supreme Court. Regardless of the outcome
of this case, the State of Alaska has a paramount interest in
reviewing its relationship with and responsibility to rural Alaska,
with the overall goal of bringing Alaskans together. That review
should involve extensive participation by those most affected:
Alaska's rural residents.
All Alaskans benefit from a productive partnership between
the state and rural governance institutions, including federally
recognized tribes, as they work together to maximize the benefits
to their citizens. Such a partnership can encourage a dialog
between individual Alaskans about how to assert greater responsibility
and control over their communities and their daily lives. A cooperative
relationship among all governance institutions in Alaska will
help forge closer ties between urban and rural Alaska and provide
greater economic opportunities.
A commission on rural governance and empowerment can further
those goals by advancing recommendations about the appropriate
role of state-authorized local governments and of tribes; maximize
local autonomy and control; encourage respect for differing aspirations,
traditions and cultures; and improve delivery of government services,
including public safety, justice, economic development, natural
resource management, education and public health.
This commission can productively build on the work of the
Alaska Natives Commission, which in May 1994, issued its final
report and recommendations which are designed to increase rural
self-reliance, self-determination and preserve Alaska's Native
The Commission is charged with:
1. Examining the responsibilities and relationships in the
delivery of services in rural Alaska by all governance institutions,
including municipalities, federally recognized tribes and other
state, federal and local institutions that affect rural Alaska.
2. Preparing recommendations for furtherance of governance
in rural Alaska, with an emphasis on local autonomy and control
and the need for accountability of public resources;
3. Developing recommendations on ways to fulfill the aspirations
of rural Alaskans for self-reliance, responsibility, greater
control over their destinies and cultural preservation.
By April 17, 1998, the Commission shall prepare a report to
me on the scope, composition, charge, and working framework for
the Commission to further the purposes of this Administrative
Order. I will use the report to establish further timelines and
framework for a final report.
The Commission consists of at least 12, but no more than 18
voting members, appointed by me to serve at my pleasure. Additionally,
state and federal officials may be named as ex-officio members.
The Department of Community and Regional Affairs shall provide
necessary administrative support to the Commission. I direct
all executive branch agencies to assist the Commission, upon
request, to the maximum extent possible consistent with legal
I Will designate a voting member of the Commission to serve
as chair. A Commission member does not receive compensation as
a member of the Commission. Members of the Commissioner who are
not public officials or employees are entitled to per diem and
travel expenses in the same manner permitted for members of state
boards and commissions. Per diem and travel expenses for a member
of the Commission who is a state officer or employee are the
responsibility of the state agency represented by that member.
Meetings of the Commission shall be conducted in accordance
with AS 44.62.310 (Open. Meetings Law). The Commission shall
keep a record of its meetings.
This Order takes effect immediately.
Dated this 20th day of February, 1998.