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Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority leader will resign July 5

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Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority leader will resign July 5

Jun 22, 2024 | 6:00 pm ET
By James Brooks
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Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority leader will resign July 5
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The leader of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, one of the state’s largest landholders, is resigning effective July 5, he told the trust’s board on Thursday.

Steve Williams has been CEO of the $500 million public corporation for two years and has worked for the organization in a variety of roles since 2005.

The trust was established by the state to manage land revenue for the benefit of Alaskans who experience mental illness, and the authority is a public corporation that manages the trust. Through its vast land holdings, it has become a significant part of the state’s mining and logging industries.

The trust’s communication’s director, Allison Biastock, will serve as interim CEO while the trust’s board conducts a nationwide hiring search for a replacement.

“It’s been my privilege and honor to work alongside trust beneficiaries, staff, trustees, as well as our partners at the state, tribal health, and in the community for almost two-thirds of the trust’s life,” Williams said during a special meeting about his resignation.

He did not state a reason for his resignation but said he looks forward to spending more time with his family.

“I plan to continue to make positive impacts for Alaska,” he said.

The current version of the trust was established in 1994 under a legal settlement that alleged the state had mismanaged a prior mental health trust. 

After the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in favor of plaintiffs, the trust was reconstituted with 1 million acres of land and $200 million. Since then, the trust’s investments have annually funded the state’s standalone mental health budget, one of three budgets annually drafted by the Alaska Legislature.