Dunleavy admin commissioner resigns over resume questions
Gov. Mike Dunleavy has accepted the resignation of Department of Administration Commissioner Jonathan Quick, who found himself caught up in accusations of lying in his resume and to a Senate panel on Tuesday.
In a Thursday letter, Quick told the governor he was resigning effective immediately.
"Though I strongly refute some of the claims made against me over the last 48 hours, I do not want to become a distraction to your agenda and the positive work you are doing on behalf of Alaskans," he wrote.
Quick had testified Tuesday about his work as part owner and developer for a Tacoma-area cafe and frozen yogurt business.
But one day after the hearing, the company’s owner contradicted Quick’s resume claims as well as portions of his testimony before a joint hearing with the Senate Finance and State Affairs committees.
Janie Reynolds, who along with her husband Larry owns Anthem Coffee & Tea and Elements Frozen Yogurt, wrote the committee chairs on Wednesday listing several contradictions.
In a text message, Reynolds confirmed writing the letter, adding she learned about Quick’s appointment when a legislative aide contacted her during a background check. She declined to comment further. The Washington Secretary of State’s office also confirmed the Reynolds as owners of the Puyallup-based business.
For Quick, his mid-evening resignation ended a day of growing scrutiny over his work history claims. On his resume, Quick wrote how he “conceptualized and developed business plans for launching two separate small businesses.”
Reynolds said the business concepts were in place in 2006, five years before Quick noted any affiliated with Anthem.
“We modified the concept and plan to fit our yogurt shop which opened in 2011,” Reynolds wrote. “John may have been a voice in suggestion and direction, but he did not conceptualize and develop the business plan.”
Quick also wrote that he helped the company “recruit and secure investors and capital sources.” Reynolds called the statement false, adding, “No one invested in our company. All capital sources were applied for and secured by me.”
During the hearing, Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, asked Quick about divesting his ownership into the company.
Quick replied: “The other party is a private party and probably doesn’t want to be spoken about in a public setting, but it was just a friend from high school.”
In her letter, Reynolds said: “No one else has had any percentage of ownership. The 'private party' he speaks of is fictitious.”
Dunleavy spokesman Matt Shuckerow declined to say how the administration reviewed Quick’s work history, but offer this emailed statement: “The process for selecting commissioners and members of the Governor’s team has been thorough, thoughtful and deliberate. We have full faith in the group the Governor has assembled and look forward to the serious work we have ahead. Beyond that, as a matter of policy we do not comment on hiring practices and personnel matters.”
In most years, confirmation hearings usually start in the final month of session, but with no budget proposal before the Legislature, the Senate decided to start earlier.
Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, said the early hearings have served the Legislature well.
“It’s important that not only legislators know who these people are but also with the public as well,” Giessel said. “We need to vet these people right away so that’s what we’ve done this year. You see that the committee process has worked.”
Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, D-Anchorage, stopped short of saying in a news conference that Quick should resign or be fired.
“I would suggest that the governor should take a look at this application," Begich said, "and ask point blank his commissioner appointee whether he intended to provide false information because that information was provided to the governor as well.”
Begich said better vetting from the executive branch is required, but he would not place the blame squarely on Dunleavy.
Quick initially stood his ground in a letter to Senate leaders offer what he believed was some clarity to the dispute. He wrote that in 2011, he verbally “entered into an equity-stake business venture with the Reynolds family.” He said as the business grew, it became clear there would be no written agreement. Quick also attached portions of two newspaper articles naming him a co-owner with Bryan Reynolds
About four hours later, Quick wrote another letter — his resignation to Dunleavy.
The same day, a second Administration Department hire withdrew his interest not long before Quick resigned.
Art Chance was tapped to be a policy advisor for the governor, but questionable social media posts written by Chance surfaced.
The Dunleavy administration is not making a direct connection about Chance's withdrawal and the posts, but the governor said in a prepared statement, “This decision is for the best.”
KTVA attempted to contact Chance for comment on Thursday but have yet to hear back.
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