Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

 
 

Advisory committee skips vote on Katzeek

 


The Upper Lynn Canal Fish and Game Advisory Committee is not, at this point, interested in voting on dismissing board member and big game guide John Katzeek following his federal felony conviction for violating the Lacey Act.

The board’s decision goes against a recommendation from Glenn Haight, executive director of Fish and Game’s board support section, to take action on the issue one way or the other and vote on whether Katzeek should be dismissed.

“As a matter of procedure, I believe the committee needs to take action in the form of a vote to determine whether Mr. Katzeek should be dismissed,” Haight wrote in an email to committee chair Tim McDonough.

McDonough read aloud from the email during Tuesday’s committee meeting but afterward refused to provide a copy, claiming it was a private communication.

A federal judge convicted Katzeek in February of falsely documenting the amount of meat taken from a 2011 hunt and failing to accurately report the hunt’s date and assistant guide’s name.

Katzeek, who will be sentenced in June, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The email from Haight also said the committee is allowed to seek removal of a member for cause, according to Fish and Game regulations.

A board can vote to remove a member for several reasons, including “conviction of a crime or administrative disciplinary action for behavior inconsistent with the responsibility of committee or council membership within the preceding five years.”

Member Julia Heinz made a motion to postpone the matter for discussion at the committee’s next meeting, but the motion failed for lack of a second. Instead, the committee decided the issue was effectively “dead.”

“I think we need a person on here like (Katzeek) that has vast local knowledge that surpasses anyone in this room,” said member Dean Risley. “I don’t know much about the crime, but he’s a good man. I know that. And that’s good enough for me.”

Member Randy Jackson echoed Risley’s thoughts, calling Katzeek a “valuable member of the committee” who should be allowed to serve as long as he is able.

Committee members said they were amendable to revisiting the issue if the public came forward with concerns. “We’re not saying we never want to hear about it again,” Jackson said.

In an email sent Wednesday morning, Haight said he didn’t mean to direct the board to vote on the matter. “It is (in) their court on what they would like to do.”