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

Why DLA Performed This Audit

The audit’s purpose was to determine if there is a need for the commission’s continued existence and whether its termination date should be extended. The commission is set to sunset June 30, 2020, and will have one year from that date to conclude its operations.

Report Conclusions

The audit found that there continues to be a public policy need for the commission’s existence. The commission brings together volunteer experts in earthquake-related fields (i.e. engineering and geology) and members of key government agencies to provide advice to policy makers on disaster preparedness and seismic hazard mitigation. Its activities during the audit period included establishing mitigation priorities, issuing recommendations to state agencies, providing advice to local governments and the governor, and helping school districts secure federal grant funding to assess the vulnerability of older buildings to significant structural damage during an earthquake. The commission also helped coordinate classes to train individuals on how to assess buildings and structures in the aftermath of a significant seismic event. One of the classes was held in September 2018, just a few months before southcentral Alaska experienced a magnitude 7.0 on-land earthquake.

The audit also concluded that not all commission meetings were adequately public noticed and the commission’s strategic plan should be updated to incorporate the knowledge gained through recent seismic events. (Recommendations 1 and 2)

In accordance with AS 44.66.010(a)(8) the commission is scheduled to terminate on June 30, 2020. We recommend that the legislature extend the commission’s termination date to June 30, 2028.

Findings and Recommendations

  1. The commission’s chair should ensure procedures are implemented to publish meeting notices timely and accurately.
  2. The commission’s chair should update its strategic plan to reflect current goals and priorities based on experience.