UPDATE: Jonathan Quick has resigned as Commissioner of the Department of Administration. “Earlier this evening, Commissioner Designee Jonathan Quick resigned. I appreciate his willingness to serve the people of Alaska and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” Gov. Dunleavy said in a press release sent Thursday evening. Paul Vrana, an attorney who joined the Department of Administration on January 2, 2019, was announced as Quick’s replacement. Additionally, Art Chance, a former state labor relations director offered a job in the administration, Thursday night declined the posting, according to Dunleavy Press Secretary Matt Shuckerow.
The Senate Minority called Thursday, January 24, for more thorough vetting of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s appointments after legislators received evidence that Department of Administration (DOA) Commissioner-designee John Quick lied to them about his work history.
Under a heading that reads, “Multi-line Business Owner and Investor,” Quick’s resumé claims he launched two businesses in Puyallup, Washington, Anthem Coffee & Tea and Elements Frozen Yogurt.
The Senate State Affairs Committee and Senate Finance Committee moved Quick’s nomination on for consideration of the full legislature after that single hearing.
In a letter to the joint committee, Janie Reynolds said that she and her husband Larry have been the only co-owners of Anthem Coffee & Tea and Elements Frozen Yogurt. Further, they conceived the business plans in 2006, well before opening the shops in 2011.
The letter said they hired Quick in 2011 before firing him in 2012 “[a]fter many months of promises to organize and bring structure [to] our company.”
“John never had any percentage of ownership. He had hopes of being part of the ownership structure, and would verbalize it as his reality. Several times during his year with us, he would ask, almost insist, that I sign a contract that would put him into part-ownership. I declined each time,” Janie Reynolds writes.
“It would appear that he made false claims on his resumé and to the committee, as well,” Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) said of Quick during a press conference. “If he were any other State employee, he would probably be terminated for that action. I know there have been State employees who have been terminated for falsifying statements on resumés, falsifying application information.”
Wielechowski said that he spoke to Reynolds this week as part of his due diligence in the confirmation process. He said Reynolds was angry.
“As a small business owner myself, and having been in business all my life until I came down here, I find it almost offensive that somebody would present themselves as a small business person — It’s just less than the truth,” Sen. Donny Olson (D-Golovin) sympathized.
A search on the Washington State Department of Revenue site confirms Reynolds’ version of events. Quick has held three business licenses in Washington, but not for Anthem/Elements.
One license is related to co-working office company We Are Guild. Northwest University, the Christian college where Quick received his bachelor’s degree, was a client.
The other licenses are tied to Quick’s fitness and diet supplement businesses under a variety of brand names, including Island Vibrance.
Quick testified in his confirmation hearing that he administered health plans as a small business owner.
Reynolds writes that if Quick was referring to Anthem/Elements, that, too, is a lie because the company did not offer health insurance until last year.
Quick’s profile on the website Brand Yourself says that he earned a master’s degree in business administration from Wayland Baptist University after attending between 2008 and 2012.
Yet his resumé says he attended Wayland Baptist University Graduate School of Business from 2007 to 2009. It does not mention a degree.
Reynolds’ writes that Quick misrepresented himself as having an MBA before she hired him.
Wielechowski said Thursday that Quick does not have a master’s.
Quick’s resumé twice lists “ethical leadership” as one of his skills.
Olson said senators started hearing rumors about Quick Tuesday after the confirmation hearing. Those rumors began to become firm Wednesday before they received Reynolds’ letter Wednesday night.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich (D-Anchorage) suggested that Quick’s future statements before committees and the public could all be held in doubt without clarifying action.
“If those misrepresentations, if those falsehoods were on his resumé when he presented it to the governor, it’s a disservice to the governor, as well,” Begich said. “I would suggest that the governor should take a look at this application and actually ask, point blank, his commissioner-appointee whether he intended to provide him false information, because that information was provided to the governor, as well.”
How Dunleavy handles this news will be an early bellwether for his new administration.
In his State of the State address earlier this week, Dunleavy repeated his campaign refrain that “We must restore public trust in government and elected officials.” Quick himself called Dunleavy “a man of integrity.”
“Have we restored trust in government yet?” the Alaska Democratic Party (ADP) sarcastically tweeted in reaction to the news of Quick’s false testimony.
In a subsequent Facebook post, ADP wrote, “Last time we checked, falsifying your work history and education on your resume in order to get a job was grounds for dismissal. #waiting #pantsonfire”
If Quick remains in his position, he must still appear before at least one House committee prior to a confirmation vote of the whole legislature.
Department of Health & Social Services Commissioner-designee Adam Crum also received a single confirmation hearing this week before being moved to the next step.
Begich said that the confirmation process needs to slow down so candidates can be properly vetted.
“I hope he would share that position, that every one of his appointees should be the best that they can possibly be,” Begich said of Dunleavy. “If that requires a little bit more scrutiny, I think that’s in the best interests of the state of Alaska and its citizens.”
“It’s ultimately the governor’s decision as to whether he wants to continue on with this person as a designee and risk the chance of a vote maybe not going in his direction,” Olson warned.