Department of Administration Commissioner Sheldon Fisher is moving over to head the Department of Revenue, Gov. Bill Walker announced today.
Fisher replaces former Revenue commissioner Randy Hoffbeck, who left the position earlier this year to pursue ministry service. Fisher will assume the position effective immediately, according to Walker’s announcement of the appointment.
The appointment comes at a critical time as the Walker administration is making another push to get new revenue measures passed through the Legislature in order to address the state’s multibillion-dollar budget deficit. Walker also hasn’t set just what revenue measures he’ll be asking the Legislature to consider, a decision that has likely waited on the appointment of a new commissioner.
“As Alaska shifts off of reliance on volatile oil prices to pay for government services, revenue is of critical importance,” Walker said in a prepared statement. “Sheldon is a natural fit for the state’s top revenue position. As Commissioner of the Department of Administration, Sheldon shepherded a number of cost-reduction projects, including the initiative to streamline services. Coupled with the 20 years of management experience in the private sector, Sheldon is well-equipped to lead the state as Commissioner of the Department of Revenue.”
The Department of Administration is a comparatively low-profile job compared to the Department of Revenue. Hoffbeck was frequently been in front of the Legislature and the media to sell Walker’s fiscal plan. He also participated frequently in town halls throughout the state.
Fisher’s time in the Department of Administration hasn’t been without action, though. He’s been credited for salvaging the state’s Real ID Act as legislative inaction appeared like it would run the state past the federal deadline for upgraded identifications.
Walker’s announcement touts Fisher’s experience in the private sector, which includes time as the chief operating officer for McKinley Capital Management and as the senior vice president of sales and marketing for Alaska Communications. Fisher has an economics degree from Brigham Young University and a law degree from Yale.
Fisher left ACS in order to run against Rep. Don Young in the 2010 Republican primary. He came in a distant second, with Young raking in about 70 percent of the vote that year. Fisher tallied about a quarter of the vote in the election.