Gov. Bill Walker cites finances, not job performance, as the reason he fired most of his Washington office, and then decided to keep associate director Nathan Butzlaff, on the job.
“Well, we are in the biggest fiscal deficit we’ve ever been in as a state, and we’re looking at everything, as far as what changes can we make from a fiscal standpoint that make sense for Alaska and to be able to cut the budget where we can,” Walker said in a phone interview. “And so it’s in that vein we have looked at ways to handle the D.C. office differently than we have in the past.”
Walker says he, the lieutenant governor, and senior cabinet members will visit more to supplement the efforts of the smaller staff. Walker says they’ll still have the manpower to do the detailed work of the office, like discussing technical points with federal staffers as they draft permits and regulations.
“We will continue to evaluate our fiscal situation and see if there’s more we can do with our D.C. office than our current plan right now,” Walker said, although he also said he does not consider the current plan an interim solution.