Dunleavy crony Porcaro, recipient of a $136,000 state fish job, says ‘they’ didn’t want someone with knowledge of fish”

Porcaro portrayed his lack of fishing knowledge as a plus saying, "They're looking for somebody that had a lot of broad experience."

by | August 28, 2023

“Apparently that’s not what they were looking for, somebody who knows about fish,” Porcaro said.

By Dermot Cole/Reporting from Alaska
August 26, 2023

Mike Porcaro, the Anchorage adman and right-wing gabber, admits he knows nothing about fish, even though his friend Gov. Mike Dunleavy gave him a high-paid state job that requires knowledge of the fishing industry.

“And the first question that people ask is ‘Well you don’t know anything about fish.’ Well, apparently that’s not what they were looking for, somebody who knows about fish,” Porcaro said.

What were “they” looking for if “they” wanted someone with no expertise in the subject?

“They” is Dunleavy and “they” bestowed a $136,000 job on none other than Mike Porcaro, leader of the Dunleavy praise team on talk radio, who never applied for a state job.

Porcarco is a Dunleavy crony who has made a career out of whining about bloated government, attacking Democrats, supporting unidentified budget cuts and claiming the state can afford bigger Permanent Fund dividends. He is in sync with Dunleavy and has benefited from state ad dollars and campaign dollars directed to his ad agency.

The job Porcaro is filling is a prime example of waste, fraud and abuse. It’s not a do-nothing state job. It’s a do-little state job that should have been eliminated long ago, following a 2015 audit that said there is so little work to do that full-time commissioners are not needed. The audit said the commission is ineffective and inefficient.

Porcaro concealed his new status as a state employee from his radio audience for more than two weeks, only mentioning it Thursday after reporter Nat Herz wrote about his plum assignment.

He touched on it again Friday after a caller brought up the subject. Porcaro, who spent much of his show praising Trump, while attacking Biden, Mary Peltola and the enemies of plastic straws, sounded almost sheepish to now be on the state payroll.

The staff of the agency is in Juneau. He’s in Anchorage.

He didn’t mention his $136,000 salary, however, and he didn’t mention the assertion that he “may” work less than fulltime and would only get paid for when he works. There is something suspect about this arrangement.

“Yes, I’m a commissioner now, how about that?” after the caller congratulated him on his new state job.

The Legislature will not vote on his confirmation to the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission until next year, which is unfortunate, because Porcaro doesn’t belong on the state payroll and he should stay with his private jobs.

According to his financial disclosure form, Porcaro earned a salary of between $50,000 and $100,000 last year from fulltime work at his advertising business.

He claimed to have earned a salary of $50,000 to $100,000 from KENI radio for his talk show and $50,000 to $100,000 from Social Security. He lists himself as the manager of his ad firm’s profit-sharing plan, in which he holds a “beneficial” interest.

He says he is staying with his private jobs, even though his state job is a salaried position, not an hourly position.

“I mentioned this yesterday on the show that the governor asked if I would serve on the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission. And for those of you who don’t know what it does, it’s kind of important. I mean it deals with fishing, entries, permits, all of those things,” Porcaro said Friday on the radio.

Porcaro portrayed his lack of fishing knowledge as a plus.

“They’ve got enough people that know about fish and that’s great. What they’re looking for, I guess, in this particular appointment, is somebody that had a lot of broad experience.”

“And you know I’m flattered that the governor thought I had the kind of experience and the kind of skills that he felt were necessary to help serve the people of Alaska in this job. And so that’s what I’m doing.”

“Now it doesn’t affect my radio show. It doesn’t affect my other business. I just need to make sure that when I do what I do I’m not impinging on state time, which I wouldn’t do anyway because it’s not right. If the state of Alaska is paying me to do something then they have free call on what I do, After I’m done, however, I have free call on what I do.”

His claim about running these side operations along with a fulltime state job does not match the usual demands of a salaried position. Having a state salary means he does not have a “free call on what I do.”

“So I’m delighted. I’m pleased that the staff down in Juneau has been very, very welcoming.”

“All I can is there’s a lot of very smart people doing these jobs, working very hard. And I’m pleased. I’m very proud and I’m very honored and humbled to be doing this.”

The 2015 audit said that commissioners should be working less than 15 hours a week and shouldn’t be collecting benefits because of the low workload.

When a caller had two questions about fishing, Porcaro showed that he was telling the truth when he said he knows nothing about fishing.

”Why on earth would they issue a trawling permit for cod when trawling is creating all the problems?” a caller said, before asking if the state gets a fish royalty.

Porcaro said those were good questions, but he had no idea of the answers.

I don’t know the answers either, which means I deserve a $136,000 state job.

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.


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