Assembly Chair Debbie Ossiander, Assemblyman Dick Traini and Assemblyman Patrick Flynn tell Channel 2 News they have known Sheffield’s retirement was in the works for months. Flynn even wrote about it on his blog last month.
Honeman, however, says he only found out on the day Sheffield announced his retirement.
"You hear rumors,” Honeman says. “But it's certainly something I didn't hear about. At the same time there has to be someone held responsible for the problems we are facing today."
Sullivan, however, says the feds are to blame for any spending problems.
"It was not his (Sheffield’s) job to oversee the construction project," Sullivan says. "It was his job to oversee the port."
Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage, says whomever Sullivan chooses must be able to control spending, or replacing Sheffield will have little significance.
"His (Sheffield’s) cost figure is not a responsible amount of money," Gara says. "We can't spend like drunken sailors."
Sullivan, however, says his $350 million state request to complete what he calls a scaled down version of the port's expansion will answer critics.
"My goal was to have a scaled down design to serve us well into the future," Sullivan says. "And the scaled down design accomplishes that."
That scaled down version would only complete the project’s first phase. Gara says that has the potential to leave future administrations with the cost of completing the other two phases. Sullivan, however, says those phases will not be necessary or burden future administrations.
Sheffield did not appear with Sullivan during his news conference. However, he sent Sullivan a letter announcing his retirement.
"My service over the last decade at the Port of Anchorage, Alaska's Port, represents some of the best years of my life" Sheffield writes. "It has been an honor to continue my commitment to the Municipality, the State and to Alaskans. Serving Alaskans in multiple capacities over the past 30 years has been one of the highest honors of my life."
Sheffield has served as Port of Anchorage Director since 2001 and campaigned for the Intermodal Expansion Project.
With his departure Sheffield says the port will be a more, “profitable, vibrant, and thriving facility.”