Local News

Marine Highway head steps down

Capt. Mike Neussl. (Alaska DOT photo)

The head of the state’s ferry system is stepping down.

Capt. Mike Neussl’s last day of work as the Deputy Commissioner for Marine Operations will be next Friday, January 11.

Neussl has been in the post for just under two years – since March of 2011. His departure comes close on the heels of a decision by Gov. Parnell to scale back the Alaska-class ferry project – a decision which took even the region’s legislators by surprise.
He says his resignation is not fallout from the issue.

“I wouldn’t characterize it that way. It’s a mutual agreement between myself and the commissioner, and that’s how it’s going forward.”

DOT Commissioner Pat Kemp himself is fairly new to the job. He’s been serving as interim commissioner since Marc Luiken (loo-ken) resigned in October. Gov. Parnell gave Kemp the permanent appointment on December 22.

Nuessl says he grateful for the opportunity to have worked with the staff in the department and the Marine Highway. He’s often been the face of the system when something breaks down, but there’s an upside.

“It’s been a very interesting experience dealing with all the communities, and actually seeing and realizing how important the ferry system is to the communities we serve.”

Neussl says he has no plans for another job right away. He didn’t get much of a break after his last one.

“I’m going to be retired. I was retired from the Coast Guard – I did a thirty-year career – prior to being asked to take on this position, and I did, and enjoyed it. I’m going to go back to retirement and do some projects around the house.”

There’s no official word yet from the DOT on Neussl’s replacement.

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