Just days after many Alaska legislators were voted into office, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly unanimously approved a contract for a Juneau lobbyist during the upcoming legislative session.
During last night’s regular meeting, the contract for lobbyist Mark Hickey was approved, along with a $5,000 pay increase. Borough Manager Bud Cassidy said Hickey has been the borough’s lobbyist for 14 years, and has received the same salary of $40,000 for eight years. He said his work has been truly effective in Juneau and believed the raise was warranted.
“He is probably highly endorsed by Senator Gary Stevens and by Representative Austerman, I think past and present assembly members who have worked with him have found him to be real approachable and very professional. I think we’ll probably see the need for his value more this year with potentially a new governor, probably a bunch of new agency folks as well if there is a new governor and Kodiak has a freshman legislator as well, Mr. Hickey is familiar with her.”
Assemblyman Aaron Griffin agreed with Cassidy and said he has been impressed by Hickey’s effectiveness in setting up meetings with key legislators during the assembly’s annual visits to Juneau. He also felt the pay raise to $45,000 a year was well justified.
“My ears perked up a little bit when I saw the increase, which looked like a fairly large single year increase, but considering the fact that it’s been so long since we adjusted the cost of the contract – I mean if we were making inflationary adjustments on the contract every year we’d be well above a $5,000 change from nine years ago. So I think that it’s very reasonable.”
Assemblywoman Chris Lynch also supported the contract renewal.
“Mark’s a former commissioner of DOT, he knows his way around Juneau, he knows his way around commissioners and current legislators – he really does work very hard for us so I’m in support of this.”
Hickey’s contract is for the next two years, meaning it will cost the borough a total of $90,000.
Last night was the first meeting for newly elected assembly members Dan Rohrer, Larry LeDoux and Rebecca Skinner. Rohrer was elected as deputy presiding officer in a 6-1 vote by his fellow assembly members, meaning he will chair meetings in the mayor’s absence. Assemblywoman Chris Lynch was the lone dissenter for that decision.