Governor dismisses Chair of Alaska Railroad Corporation Board of Directors

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Jon Cook was a member of the Alaska Railroad's board of directors for 10 years. He was the chairman of the board for a while until Governor Dunleavy dismissed him from that position earlier this week.

Cook is also the chief financial officer of Airport Equipment Rentals, which hosted events for the Dunleavy recall petition campaign at its Fairbanks and Delta Junction locations.

The company would not confirm or deny their association with the Recall campaign, but there are connections.

The chair of the Recall campaign says AER's president is a member of the recall steering committee, but Cook isn’t the president.

“We have a lot of businesses who are participating in this, and it doesn't mean that any particular people are directly associated with what we are doing," says Recall Dunleavy Chair Meda DeWitt.

Is there a connection between Cook being a top executive of a company that hosted Recall events and the governor's decision to remove him from the railroad board?

We asked the governor's staff why Cook was removed. In an email, the governor's press secretary Matt Shuckerow wrote: "like many other boards and commissions, the Alaska Railroad board of directors serves at the pleasure of the governor."

We also asked if the dismissal was related to the Recall campaign. To that Shuckerow replied "Governor Dunleavy says he and Mr. Cook share differing views on both the railroad and the future of Alaska"

For now, board vice-chair, former Governor Bill Sheffield, will serve as interim chair.

Shuckerow said the governor would like to fill the position with someone experienced with "real estate and land development" before the September board meeting.

Cook did not want to comment on his dismissal.

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