SUMMARY OF: A Sunset Review on the Department of Natural Resources, Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission, September 19, 2013

Purpose of the Report

In accordance with Title 24 and Title 44 of the Alaska Statutes (sunset legislation), we have reviewed the activities of the Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission (commission or ASHSC). The purpose of this audit was to determine if there is a demonstrated public need for the commission’s continued existence and if the commission has been operating in an 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 commission should be reestablished. Currently, under
AS 44.66.010(a)(8), the commission will terminate on June 30, 2014, and will have one year from that date to conclude its administrative operations.

Report Conclusions

Overall, we conclude the commission is operating in the public’s interest, but improvements are needed to increase effectiveness. During the audit period, the commission served the public’s interest by issuing eight seismic hazards mitigation recommendations. As the State’s designated seismic hazard mitigation advisory commission, the ASHSC relies on other organizations to implement recommended actions. Six recommendations were issued to the State and legislature, and two were issued to other entities. The commission also gathered, analyzed, and disseminated information and assisted with seismic hazards safety mitigation training efforts.

The audit identified several areas for operational improvements. (See Recommendation Nos. 1 through 4.) Recommendations include improving strategic planning documents; replacing chronically absent commission members; filling vacant positions in a timely manner; and ensuring commission recommendations identify the required actions and organizations responsible for implementation.

Findings and Recommendations

  1. The commission should improve prioritization and accountability within its strategic planning documents.
  2. The commission should recommend replacing habitually absent members in a timely manner.
  3. The Office of the Governor and the commission should work together to fill all commission vacancies in a timely manner.
  4. The commission should ensure recommendations clearly identify the organization responsible for implementing an action and the action to be performed.