Rocky Outcalt served on Skagway’s Zoning and Planning Commission so long he’s not exactly sure when he started. He said it’s been 10 or 11 years. He estimated he attended about 50 meetings in the last year as the municipality crafted the 2030 Comprehensive Plan.

As his most recent three-year term came to a close, Outcalt said he told Mayor Andrew Cremata, “I’d be willing to serve if they needed it.”

With interest from several community members who had never been on Zoning and Planning, Cremata decided to appoint two new members to replace Outcalt and Fire Chief Joe Rau, whose term also expired. 

Cremata said he was grateful for Outcalt and Rau’s time and dedication and was looking forward to working with new commission members Raniyah Bakr and Jaimie Lawson.

“Sometimes it’s good to bring new blood into any committee,” Cremata said.

Another factor in his decision was how often Rau would need to be at the meetings representing the fire department.

“I’d like department heads to focus on being department heads,” Cremata said.

Skagway also has an entirely new board. The now defunct Port Commission was replaced by the Ports and Harbor Advisory Board, created by the assembly in September, and headed by Assemblymember Sam Bass. Tiffanie Ames, Tom Cochran, Liz Lavoie and John Tronrud were appointed to the new organization. 

The mayor’s newest appointee, Courtney Ellingston, was assigned to the Recreation Board with her term expediting in 2023.

The zoning commission and port board contain more women members than Skagway has seen serve in recent years.

“I’m really glad some females have stepped up,” Lawson said. It’s going to be better for the community to bring all sides to the table.”

Lawson has been studying “Roberts’ Rules” and attending zoning meetings in preparation for her new role.

Outcalt’s advice for the new members is simple.

“Just serve well,” he said. “Serve the people.”