FAGAN: The swamp comes to Alaska

When you hear about the “swamp” you think of legal extortion, payola and shadiness spawned from the powerful based in Washington D.C. But all that “swamp” cash generated in the shadows from taxpayers swirling around in our nation’s capital eventually trickles down to states like Alaska.

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium board chairman Andy Teuber offers up one example of how the “swamp” works and benefits a select few even in the 49th state. ANTHC helps run the Alaska Native Medical Center. For years Mr. Teuber’s ANTHC board chairmanship earned him $122,000. Not bad for sitting on a board.

Keep in mind Mr. Teuber is not CEO nor is he involved in the day-to-day operation of ANTHC. For the most part he just runs the board meetings. Granted they probably require a lot of due diligence and homework, but it’s not like Mr. Teuber has to show up for work each day in a 9 to 5 scenario to earn his six-figures.

That would be physically impossible for Mr. Teuber since he already has a full-time job as president and chief executive of the Kodiak Area Native Association. A job which pays him a handsome salary of $539,000 dollars made up mostly of taxpayer money plus benefits. Big government has been very good to Andy Teuber.

Mr. Teuber also owns, operates and flies for a helicopter company in Kodiak. And according to Mr. Teuber’s Linkedin profile he serves as a UA regent, and board member for Alaska Airlines and the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce. One might wonder how much time he has left over for his six-figure ANTHC Board Chairmanship.

ANTHC claims Mr. Teuber works 65 hours a week as Board Chairman but his other employer, Kodiak Area Native Association. also claims he’s on the job 37.5 hours a week. If we are to believe this it means Mr. Teuber works 14-hours a day, 7-days a week, and then in his spare time serves on three other boards and operates and flies for his helicopter business. This is one busy dude.

The amazing and beautiful thing about the “swamp” for those fortunate enough to be its beneficiary is anything is possible. All of a sudden Mr. Teuber’s compensation for his ANTHC Board Chairmanship which he has very little time for went from a 6-figure income to a 7-figure one. Shockingly the ANTHC Board raised Mr. Teuber’s pay from $122,000 to $1.05 million per year. It’s always a party for those living in the “swamp.”

And then in what is the mother of all coincidences many of the very same ANTHC board members gave themselves a big raise. Six board members received an extra $249,000. Remember this is for sitting on a board! Previously board members were paid between $35,000 and $65,000 a year for an average of five hours a week of work according to a report filed by the Alaska Dispatch News. Again this is for sitting on a board!

Other ANTHC board members received smaller “swamp” payments like the wife of Kodiak RINO Sen. Gary Stevens who received a payment of $107,000 last year of taxpayer money. Remember this is for sitting on a board!

The lesson here kids is that if you are chairmen of a board and you want to take home a million bucks for it make sure the board members voting on your pay get their cut of the taxpayer loot too.

ANTHC justifies all of this by claiming the cash came from a settlement with the feds and they used the money to make up for years of “significant personal and professional sacrifices” by board members.

Yeah all those years of pulling in $35,000 to $65,000 per year for an average of five hours a week must have been really rough. For years those poor board members had to endure making a mere $250 an hour for sitting around a table five hours a week. How did they manage? I’m surprised they made it this long. With their new payment of $249,000, some board members now get close to $1,000 per hour for sitting around a table. “Swamp” work is good if you can get it.

All of this has come to light after another tribal health care giant, the Southcentral Foundation sued ANTHC claiming Mr. Teuber received an outrageous compensation package. Southcentral Foundation wants ANTHC to change its management practices.

We wonder why so many Americans are tired of the status quo. Unfortunately the case of Andy Teuber is duplicated many times over even in Alaska. This kind of stuff is rarely reported. Credit ADN’s Nat Herz for doing so on Sunday in much greater detail than I. Check it out on ADN.com.

Dan Fagan is a former reporter for KTUU, and columnist for the Anchorage Daily News. He also taught at UAA as an adjunct journalism professor and he hosted a radio show for many years on KFQD. You can reach him at [email protected].

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3 Comments on "FAGAN: The swamp comes to Alaska"

  1. Totally agree! Does anyone think that the federal “settlement” should have gone to already generous salaries, over supplies and meds for the true beneficiaries of the program, i.e., Alaska Natives and facilities? “ANTHC justifies all of this by claiming the cash came from a settlement with the feds and they used the money to make up for years of “significant personal and professional sacrifices” by board members.” I’d like to see the actual settlement, as I find it almost impossible to believe that is the language actual from the agreement that yielded all that money in settlement.

  2. Learn the facts at anthcinfo.org

  3. Teuber is an absentee CEO. He spends maybe a couple days a month at some of these “full-time” positions. Imagine if the pay increases had gone to underserved natives or underpaid employees.

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