FAIRBANKS — Janet Woods of Fairbanks resigned from the Alaska Board of Fisheries on Friday, less than a year after being appointed to the board by then-Gov. Sarah Palin.
Woods, who was named to the board for a three-year term in July 2009, submitted her resignation Thursday morning, according to Sharon Leighow, the governor’s press secretary. Leighow said Gov. Sean Parnell did not ask Woods to resign.
Woods, originally from the Yukon River village of Rampart, was the only Interior representative on the seven-member fish board and the only board member who lived north of the Alaska Range.
She was also the board’s lone woman and Alaska Native.
In a brief e-mail of resignation to the governor’s director of boards and commissions, Woods said she was leaving the board “much to my dismay.”
“I truly enjoyed being a part of the process and working with such wonderful people and constituents that I was privileged to meet, serve and work with,” she wrote.
Leighow said there was no word on a possible replacement appointment by Parnell. The governor has 30 days to appoint someone else. The appointment must be confirmed by the Legislature.
Woods, who could not be reached for comment on Friday, had not been confirmed as an official board member yet. She participated in three of four meetings during her eight-month tenure on the board. She recently missed the March 16-21 meeting in Anchorage due to work commitments and she missed part of the Feb. 2-6 Alaska Peninsula/Aleutian Islands meeting due to a death in her family.
With Woods’ resignation and the terms of two other board members set to expire in June, there are three openings on the board for Parnell to fill, at least one of which is likely to come from the Interior and represent subsistence interests, said the board’s executive director, Jim Marcotte.
The governor typically tries to maintain a balance on the board in terms of geographic and user group representation, he said.
The terms of Vince Webster, the board chairman, and Howard Delo are set to expire in June, and both Webster and Delo have expressed interest in being reappointed, Marcotte said. The governor is expected to announce appointments for those seats by the end of the month, Leighow said.
As far as possible replacements for Woods, at least three Fairbanksans had expressed interest in being appointed to the board before her resignation. They include former state legislator Hugh “Bud” Fate; Tanana Chiefs Conference subsistence director Mike Smith; and Reed Morisky, a sport fishing guide.
Smith, who was passed over when Woods was appointed, said he was interviewed by the governor’s office two weeks ago as a possible replacement for one of the two upcoming open seats.
Fate, who served two terms as a Republican state representative, said he submitted his name a few days ago, before Woods’ resignation, for one of the other two seats set to open up.
“It had nothing to do with the makeup of the board,” Fate said. “I didn’t know she resigned.”
Fate, 80, and his wife, Mary Jane, have been subsistence and commercial fishermen on the Yukon River for decades, though it’s been several years since he commercially fished because of the dismal shape of the Yukon’s king salmon run. The Fates still operate a family fish camp below the Dalton Highway bridge, he said.
Morisky, a grayling fishing guide, submitted his name for consideration on the fish board last summer before Woods’ appointment.
Former Board of Fish member Virgil Umphenour, who now chairs the Fairbanks Fish and Game Advisory Committee, said any of the three above candidates would do a better job than Woods did.
“She didn’t show up at the meetings,” Umphenour said. “She didn’t seem to want to talk to us about the issues.
“We want someone from the Interior that’s going to aggressively fight for the issues we think are important,” said Umphenour, who sat on the board for six years during the administration of Gov. Tony Knowles. “We want someone that’s been involved in the process and has the commitment to do the research and be effective in deliberations on our issues.