It’s a board that is often fraught with controversy; like a perennial in summer, there’s drama blooming on the Alaska Human Rights Commission.
Board Chair Debbie Fullenwider is no longer listed on the state’s directory. She has quit.
Also not on the board is Vice Chair Betsy Engle, whose name was gone from the directory Wednesday morning. And missing from the list is Human Rights Commissioner Cynthia Erickson. In the span of 48 hours, three of the seven commissioners have appeared to have resigned. A fourth is said to be also considering leaving.
The apparent conflict, Must Read Alaska has learned, is over the management of the professional staff of the commission.
Management conflict also arose over the management styles of the previous two executive directors, Marilyn Stewart and Marti Buscalgia.
The drama started with Buscalgia, who was embroiled in controversy in 2019 after she discriminated against a building contractor whose work truck bore a sticker that said, “Black Rifles Matter.” Stewart only lasted a few weeks before being asked to resign by now-former Chair Fullenwider, over a management-style dispute.
There has been no announcement about the departures from the Human Rights Commission.
Robert Corbisier, the current executive director, has seen a dramatic drop in workload since the Covid-19 pandemic. With so many workers now working from home, there have been fewer complaints taken up by the agency that handles a variety of human-conflict cases involving how people treat one another and how they may discriminate or not, per the Alaska Human Rights Law, AS 18.80. Seven commissioners are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature.
Remaining on the board are William Craig of Sitka, Kyle Foster of Anchorage, Evelyn Falzerano of Anchorage, and Rebecca Carillo of Juneau.