Dunleavy Administration Dismisses Marquardt As Alaska Ferries Chief

May 6, 2019

Shirley Marquardt served less than a year as executive director of the Alaska Marine Highway System.
Credit City of Unalaska

The Alaska Marine Highway System's top official lost her job last week to cost-cutting.

That's according to Department of Transportation officials who say Executive Director Shirley Marquardt's last day was April 30.

Her annual salary, including benefits, cost $181,300.

"As with any position, terms of separation are confidential," said AMHS spokesperson Aurah Landau in a statement.

Marquardt is a former Unalaska mayor with private sector experience in marine freight and seafood.

She was hired almost a year ago to the newly created executive director position as part of a now-stalled reform initiative seeking more autonomy for state ferries. She had previously been tapped by Gov. Bill Walker's administration.

Marquardt's responsibilities now revert to John Falvey, the fleet's longtime operations manager who reports to DOT Commissioner John MacKinnon.

The AMHS faces deep cuts as the House and Senate meet to reconcile competing budget proposals that could see steep reductions to service this winter.

Marquardt declined to be interviewed by Friday's deadline. But in a speech to a seniors group last month in Ketchikan, the Ketchikan Daily News reported she expressed frustration over political meddling and said staff morale was low over uncertainty over the fleet’s future.