Alaskans can only wonder

The Alaska Gasline Development Corp. must be a strange place to work.

Why? you may ask. Where else can you spend a couple of years raking in a $550K salary, get to junket to exotic lands, be handed a $296,000 bonus check for not accomplishing much – and then get fired a few days later with six months pay.

Just ask former AGDC President Keith Meyer. He unceremoniously was dumped this week, replaced on an interim basis by Joe Dubler, executive vice president of finance and administration for the Cook Inlet Housing Authority. Dubler reportedly will be getting paid less than Meyer – about $350,000 and no bonuses.

Doug Smith, appointed to the board by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Monday, was voted the new board chairman, replacing Dave Cruz, and Dan Coffey, also appointed Monday, was tapped to be vice chairman.

Nobody is saying what triggered the shakeup or why Meyer was given a $296,000 bonus in December and sacked barely weeks later. It is being kept behind the government’s all-purpose veil of secrecy – it is a “personnel matter.” While Dunleavy certainly is entitled to an AGDC board and president of his choosing, it would be nice to know what set off the changes or what they portend for the project that has soaked up hundreds of millions of dollars.

The corporation is in charge of the $43 billion AK LNG Project, which aims to move North Slope gas south through an 800-mile pipeline for liquefaction and shipment to Asian customers. The problem is a distinct lack of sign-on-the-dotted-line Asian customers. There are, though, plenty of promises, handshakes, smiles and junkets. It should be noted the project is nearing the scheduled release of a draft environmental impact statement next month.

While the powers-that-be sort out the mess, Alaskans can only wonder.


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