- Associated Press - Friday, June 20, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A recent job posting for the director of an agency that regulates Alaska’s liquor industry has raised eyebrows.

The job description, when last written decades ago, called for an executive to review the field work of inspectors and to work with state and federal authorities in “taking action against liquor establishments.”

But a recruitment ad posted June 9 said the job of the new director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board would be to support the board’s mission “to ensure responsible growth in the beverage industry.”

It was quickly pulled and rewritten, the Anchorage Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/1qq5Abz).

Critics fear the posting reflected a change in philosophy within the state Department of Commerce to move the board from a watchdog role to a booster for the industry. State Commerce Commissioner Susan Bell said that’s not the case. She said the posting was corrected when she became aware of it.

“We’re very cognizant of the mission of the ABC Board,” she said. “We’re very cognizant of the importance of maintaining the public protections that the board is vested with.”

Leslye Langla, a special assistant to Bell, said she wrote the notice. Langla, who said she hasn’t worked for the department long, said she had no intention of rewriting the agency’s focus in favor of business. Rather, she said she was trying to update a job description that had no minimum job requirements and had not changed since 1982.

While it was an error to add the business degree requirement, she said it seemed a logical requirement when compared to other executive-level jobs she saw being advertised in Alaska.

The board’s interim director, Bob Beasley, reviewed the ad, she said. Bell said a human resources official at the department also worked on it.

Since then, the notice has been replaced with at least two versions of the recruitment ad and a related job description. The version, as of Thursday, did not include the business degree requirement and made no mention of growing the alcohol industry. It also referred to enforcement duties.

In 2012, advocates of the alcohol industry were successful in urging lawmakers to move the board from the Department of Public Safety to the business-minded Department of Commerce.

The state is seeking a replacement for retired board director Shirley Cote, a former Soldotna police chief and Anchorage police captain appointed by then-Gov. Sarah Palin in 2008.

The board’s chairman, Bob Klein, is a member of the state liquor lobby association. He submitted a resume to be considered for the director job, a spokeswoman for the governor said in May.

If voters in November approve the legalization of recreational marijuana use, the board also would be responsible for regulating that industry.

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Information from: Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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