SUMMARY OF: A Sunset Review of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, Big Game Commercial Services Board, August 16, 2007.

Purpose of the Report

In accordance with Titles 24 and 44 of the Alaska Statutes (sunset legislation), we have reviewed the activities of the Big Game Commercial Services Board (board) to determine if there is a demonstrated public need for its continued existence and if it has been operating in an efficient and effective manner. As required by AS 44.66.050(a), this report shall be considered by the committee of reference during the legislative oversight process in determining whether the board should be reestablished. Currently, AS 08.03.010(c)(22) states that the board will terminate on June 30, 2008 and will have one year from that date to conclude its administrative operations. Our report objectives were as follows:

  1. To determine whether there is a public need for the board and if its existence should be extended.
  2. To review the board’s major functions of licensing and investigations for effectiveness in meeting public need and for efficiency of operation.

Report Conclusions

In our opinion, the termination date of the board should be extended. The board has demonstrated a need for its continued existence for regulating and licensing qualified, registered guide-outfitters and transporters which benefits the public’s safety and welfare as well as protection of the state’s wildlife resources. The board has also successfully developed and adopted regulatory changes to improve the big game commercial services industry in Alaska.

As indicated in the Analysis of Public Need section of this report, the board has met the various statutory sunset criteria, generally, in an effective and efficient manner; exceptions are discussed in the Findings and Recommendations section. In our opinion, the board serves an important public purpose. Based on the operational deficiencies identified and the limited time the board has functioned since reinstatement, we recommend the board continue in statute and its termination date be extended for four years until June 30, 2012.

Findings and Recommendations

  1. The director of the Division of Corporations, Business, and Professional Licensing (DCBPL) should ensure division staff adheres to statute, regulations, and policy and procedures for efficient and effective support of the board’s day-to-day operations.
  2. The division’s director should ensure case management procedures are adhered to by staff to accurately reflect case status on the case management system in support of the board’s operations.
  3. The board and the division should review licensing fees and regulatory costs, and increase fees to cover the annual operating costs to eliminate the anticipated deficit. At the end of FY 07, the board had an estimated operating deficit of $52,000.
  4. The board should make appropriate changes to regulations which require proof of current first aid certification for all guide-outfitters, under board purview, for both initial and renewed licenses.
  5. The board should cease the electronic accumulation of information gathered from hunt records and transporter reports. Staff resources were ill-spent recording historic licensee reports into an electronic database. The cost versus the benefit of capturing information from reports is questionable.