ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A group of professional mushers is calling for the resignation of the Iditarod Board of Directors president, saying he has a vested interest in who wins Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
The Iditarod Official Finishers Club on Tuesday sent a letter to the Iditarod Trail Committee arguing that Andy Baker had conflicts of interest, but not saying exactly what those conflicts were, KTVA-TV reported .
“My vested interest is making sure we put on the best race possible, and that the dogs are safe and healthy, and that it’s a good experience for the mushers,” Baker said Thursday.
The club gave a vote of no confidence for Baker at its last meeting, and it set a resignation date for June for the other board members who had conflicts, according to the letter.
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“We believe that the people serving on the board of directors should not have a vested interest in the outcome of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race,” the club said in the letter.
The club had criticized the board leadership in its handling of a doping scandal, where an Iditarod champion’s dogs tested positive for a banned substance last year.
The committee hired a third-party consultant, the Foraker Group, to compile a report following the race last year. The report made public last month called for organizational changes and said that six of the nine board directors had conflicts.
The board issued a statement Friday in response to the letter, saying no changes would be made before the race begins next month. It said changes would be addressed at its April meeting.
“With 21 days until the start of the race, the board and staff’s focus continues to be staging and implementing a safe, successful 2018 race for the sled dogs, mushers, fans, volunteers and race personnel along the trail,” the board said.
Information from: KTVA-TV, http://www.ktva.com