The Alaska Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA) is seeking new leadership after Gov. Bill Walker and Department of Public Safety commissioner Walt Monegan asked its long-time director, Lauree Morton, to step down last month.

“[It’s] nothing against Lauree,” Monegan said. “Because she is absolutely untouchable in regards to her expertise and her experience, but what we were looking for is a faster, deeper, more energetic effort to combine not only what we have, but what we don’t have.”

Monegan said he and the governor want to see a shift toward earlier education and prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault crimes.

“We’re not going to arrest our way out of these situations, we’ve tried for years and it doesn’t work. So we need to do other things, and so we need somebody who’s going to lead that charge,” Monegan said. “Everybody sees this, everybody understands it’s happening. And we all deplore, ring our hands about it but nobody’s stepping forward to do anything with it except in sporadic, uncoordinated attacks.”

Because of the state’s budget crunch, Monegan said it’s important to pool private and tribal resources to cover such services.

“If we do this correctly, if we do this collectively, I think we’ll have a better chance of knocking us down from that infamous number one position of being the worst in the nation,” he added.

Carmen Lowry, the executive director for the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (ANDVSA), said it’s a tough time to try a new approach because of the changes to programs at a federal level.

“Under the Obama administration in particular, there were a lot of initiatives that were introduced that provided an opportunity to make a lot of partnerships. There were also an increased amount of funds available for tribes,” Lowry said. “There’s so many different opportunities and I think it’s really challenging to figure out how to get everyone at the table.”

Lowry said Morton — a survivor of rape with a more than 30-year advocacy career — was well regarded by ANDVSA and its member programs.

“Certainly if you were to ask any of our member programs and the directors and the staff and even the folks who received services, people would say that they really appreciated Laurie’s commitment and her vast knowledge,” Lowry said. “A lived knowledge of over 30 years of doing nothing but this kind of work.”

In a meeting Wednesday afternoon, the CDVSA selected Jayne Andreen as its interim director. Andreen previously served as director for the council from 1994 to 1998, according to an online resume.

Monegan said Andreen could start work as soon as next week. The CDVSA’s board will address posting for the position at its next meeting sometime in January.

KTVA 11’s Liz Raines can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter