An ordinance that would give the Anchorage Assembly the power to override the will of the voters and remove the mayor from office was introduced on Tuesday, over the objection of Eagle River Assemblywoman Jamie Allard, who attempted to have the ordinance tabled indefinitely.
Several members of the public spoke against the ordinance, accusing the Assembly majority of trying to thwart the will of the people and violate the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches of government.
Assembly Chairwoman Suzanne LaFrance threatened the public on several occasions for their applause for the speakers objecting to the Assembly’s actions.
The liberal majority was unmoved by public testimony. The ordinance, introduced by Assemblyman Chris Constant, will be set for a public hearing for May 24.
Mayor Dave Bronson’s office issued a statement on Wednesday, calling on the public to come to his support and prevent the Assembly from setting up its coup:
“As evidenced by the outcry of residents to this ordinance at last night’s Assembly meeting, the Mayor firmly believes Assembly Member Constant has gone too far with his proposal. The Mayor fundamentally believes in the separation of powers doctrine that underpins our republican form of government. As the Chief Executive of this city, the Mayor has a duty and obligation to defend the powers of the executive branch and considers this ordinance an attack on the Office of the Mayor. The Mayor intends to use every tool at his disposal to protect the integrity of the office, and oppose Mr. Constant’s overreaching and draconian ordinance,” the Mayor’s Office said.
“Removal of any elected official, especially when that removal is done by another branch of government, should be a last resort – a nuclear option – under our system of government. We have elections; we have referendums; we have recalls. All these options are preferred and are less divisive tools than impeaching and removing an elected official, which is what Mr. Constant’s ordinance allows. Mr. Constant’s ordinance will do nothing but divide our community further, and give enormous power to the Assembly, enabling them to remove ANY mayor (not just Mayor Bronson, but all future Mayors) for any reason the Assembly deems to be a “breach of public trust.”
“In the nearly 50 years since Anchorage became a unified government, our community has never needed an ordinance like this. It’s clear this is a partisan and politically driven ordinance by a member of the Assembly seeking attention in their bid for Congress.
“No Mayor should be subject to a coup by an Assembly that doesn’t agree with him politically. Mayor Bronson calls on the people of Anchorage to oppose AO 2022-60 and to let Assembly Member Constant know that he has gone too far,” Bronson said.