The Russian-American Company was a privately funded concern which obtained a royal monopoly on exploration and settlement in America. It sponsored and managed the Russian presence from the Aleutians to the Farallon Islands. The Company had agents in several Russian cities and hired most of its promyshlenniks in the port town of Okhotsk. Many of them were unskilled, indebted, or drunkards; all were willing or forced to sign a seven-year contract.
Chief Manager Baranov mentioned in two letters [Tikhmenev in Pierce's edition, II: Documents, pp. 104 and 124] that the company's hires had signed up "in the Commandant's office in Okhotsk" and had "given a pledge to the Commandant of Okhotsk before they were shipped here to obey my orders".
The port commandant was a military officer (sometimes a corrupt one like the notorious Bukharin, who according to Davydov in the same volume, imprisoned a ship's crew so that he could overcharge the company for the use of his own oarsmen). Baranov's emphasis and repetition suggests that the Commandant's presence was by design and not just Bukharin taking advantage. Venality aside, the commandant's official responsibility must have been to a superior far away in Yakutsk or Irkutsk.
Could the Company's salaried agents hire new employees, or was the Okhotsk commandant for some reason the only one who could convey their passports for the colonies?