The Anchorage Congregation rejected Mayor Dave Bronson’s proposal to convert the city’s library from a separate division into a parks and recreation division and made several other changes to the mayorâs proposal to reorganize the structure of the Anchorage government .
New mayors often propose changes in the arrangement of the executive. These structural changes are usually approved along with the city’s operating budget.
While the congregation made some adjustments to Bronson’s proposal to restructure the city government at its meeting on Tuesday, many of Bronson’s changes remained intact.
When the congregation made its changes, Bronson immediately vetoed those changes. Each time the assembly voted to lift these vetoes and maintain their changes. Members of the congregation eventually passed the ordinance implementing the city’s new structure for the coming year by 10-1 votes, with Eagle River member Jamie Allard being the only one against.
The changes in the meeting aroused strong opposition from Bronson and members of his administration.
“I would like to know when, in historical context, the Assembly made changes to that extent or in any way in an administration’s organizational chart,” said Bronson. âWe’re trying to do that, but we don’t know what you want. And I just want to know historically, when was the last time you did that? When was the last time a congregation did that? “
[Mayor Bronson temporarily shut off fluoridation of Anchorageâs water supply, against city code]
Bronson had proposed converting several departments into departments as part of the reorganization, and the congregation made most of the changes to keep them departments, though leaving all but one of the city authorities in the same reporting structure proposed by the mayor. These changes were made to ensure that the congregation continues to oversee the mayor-appointed officers who run the departments.
âIf the departments are converted into departments, it means that the assembly no longer has the right to approve the heads of these departments. It will bring it back to how the code now exists and was intended, âsaid Congregation member Austin Quinn-Davidson.
The Congregation and Bronson have argued over some of his appointments, and the Congregation has rejected his election as library director and director of real estate.
Bronson also tried to change the reporting structure for the Chief Equity Officer and the Office of Equity and Justice so that the position is accountable only to the Mayor and not to the Assembly.
The assembly created the position of Chief Equity Officer in 2020, a role subordinate to both the mayor and the assembly in the city council. Ordinarily the mayor has the power to dismiss executives at will, but the assembly created the position with a clause that the chief equity officer can only be dismissed by the mayor for established reasons and only with the approval of a majority of the assembly. “
Bronson is currently suing the congregation. Bronson removed Clifford Armstrong III from the position of chief equity officer in October without the approval of the meeting.
As part of the reorganization of the city, Bronson had also suggested that the library become a division of the Parks and Recreation Department – a move rejected by the Library Advisory Board, according to a resolution he sent to members of the congregation, and raised concerns about it that a non-librarian then supervise, among other things, the library.
The meeting did not endorse Bronson’s first appointment as library director, Sami Graham. Members said she did not meet the minimum qualifications for the position because she did not have a degree in library studies; Graham is now Bronson’s chief of staff. Bronson’s second choice, Judy Norton Eledge, stepped down to assistant director earlier this month and said she wanted to avoid similar scrutiny by the congregation.
The library currently lacks a director, which has raised concerns about its stability among donors. However, Eledge continues to run the library in the absence of an appointed and sustained director.