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Governor Retains Mike Nizich as Chief of Staff, John Katz to Continue as Director and Special Counsel

December 8, 2010, Juneau, Alaska - Governor Sean Parnell today announced he will retain Mike Nizich as his chief of staff and John Katz as the director of state and federal relations and special counsel to the governor in Washington, D.C.

"Both Mike and John have served the state for many years and are well-respected," Governor Parnell said. "Alaska will continue to benefit from their leadership. I am pleased they will continue in this administration."

Nizich came to Juneau in 1971 with the U.S. Coast Guard. He started working for the State of Alaska in 1976 in the Office of the Governor. Nizich has served under eight governors. He was director of administrative services under Governor Bill Sheffield, a position he held through the Knowles administration. Governor Frank Murkowski appointed Nizich deputy chief of staff in 2003, and Governor Sarah Palin named him chief of staff in 2008.

Katz first served as special counsel to Governor Jay Hammond in 1979, advocating the state's position on the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. He served as commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources from 1981-1983. He then worked in the governor's Washington, D.C., office as director of state and federal relations and special counsel to the governor, beginning in 1983. Katz also has worked for eight Alaska governors. He has received several awards for meritorious public service, including Commonwealth North's Walter J. Hickel Award for Distinguished Public Policy Leadership.

Governor Parnell also announced the retention of Deputy Chief of Staff Randy Ruaro; Cindy Sims, who is deputy chief of staff for Office of the Governor operations and also international trade director; Office of Management and Budget Director Karen Rehfeld; Legislative Director Heather Brakes; and Senior Advisor for Rural Affairs John Moller.

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