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Dan Fauske leaves AHFC to focus on getting Alaska gasline built

Alex DeMarban

After running the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation for nearly two decades, Dan Fauske has resigned to focus on developing plans for constructing an in-state gasline, a move that leads to a shuffling within the Parnell Administration.

Bryan Butcher will replace Fauske, leaving open the top post at the Revenue Department. Both men are well compensated.  Butcher will earn $250,000 a year, and Fauske, who has been working as president of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, is paid $366,015 a year. 

Construction of a proposed instate gasline that ships natural gas from the North Slope is considered by some as a critical project needed to help Alaska lower its energy costs and diversify its economy.    

Dubbed the "czar of competence" for his financial acumen, Fauske has been the Legislature's go-to guy for the instate gasline and other projects. That put the Alaska Housing Finance Corp., whose goal is providing affordable housing, in the odd position of trying to advance a gasline. And it gave Fauske a dual role as the top administrator for the housing corporation and the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.

The AHFC board of directors accepted Fauske's resignation Wednesday morning. He'll head the gasline agency, and work under the authority of he newly passed House Bill 4, which moved the agency out from under the tent of the AHFC and gave it new powers to finance and build an in-state line.

The proposed $8 billion in-state line is seen as competition to the large line that costing tens of billions of dollars that BP, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil say they are studying. The state's major oil producers have for decades balked at building a gasline, angering Alaskans eager to benefit from the North Slope's vast natural gas reserves.  

Parnell praised Fauske in a statement, saying he had no doubt his "extraordinary management qualities" would lead Alaska down a "prosperous path" as it ships gas to Alaskans and Outside markets.  

The statement from Parnell's office said Fauske was "instrumental in the development of an asset transfer plan between AHFC and the state which substantially improved the corporation’s credit rating by Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s. AHFC has issued more than $7.5 billion in housing bonds and has contributed $1.9 billion to the state of Alaska through cash transfers, capital projects, and debt service payments."

Fauske, speaking recently in Anchorage, said he owed his success at AHFC to his longevity. He served as chief executive for 18 years, learning the ins and outs of a complicated agency and bringing much-needed stability.

"During his 18-year tenure as chief executive of AHFC, and working with the board, Dan has built a remarkable team of Alaskans - so remarkable, in fact, that the legislature called upon Alaska Housing counsel for projects ranging from office space to natural gas pipeline construction," said AHFC board chair Frank Roppel in a statement. "Dan has made a difference in the lives of thousands of Alaskans seeking home mortgages, affordable apartments or struggling with homelessness. In a way, Dan's departure is due to his overwhelming success here at AHFC."

Butcher will serve as director of AHFC effective immediately. Butcher had served as director of governmental relations and public affairs at AHFC before becoming Parnell's revenue commissioner in the fall of 2010.  

Butcher was as a key figure in Parnell's signature legislation, a tax cut that will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the state's oil producers in hope of encouraging new production.

 Parnell also praised Butcher: “Under Commissioner Butcher’s outstanding leadership, the More Alaska Production Act became a reality, Alaska achieved and maintained a AAA+ credit rating, and Revenue put in place a more reasoned and accurate long-term oil production forecast. I look forward to working with Bryan in his new role as he takes the helm of one of the most important state agencies.”

Angela Rodell will become acting commissioner for the Department of Revenue, Parnell's statement said. She has been deputy commissioner for Treasury since 2011, overseeing more than $24 billion in state funds and more than $20 billion of retirement assets, the statement said.  

Contact Alex DeMarban at alex(at)alaskadispatch.com