Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance and Vice Chair Christopher Constant issued a statement regarding the termination of Municipal Manager Amy Demboski and her subsequent revelations to reporters regarding the circumstances of her termination, which she has indicated is retaliation for bringing contract irregularities to the mayor’s attention.
The Assembly is taking the incident “very seriously and are gathering as much information as possible before drawing a final conclusion. However, some of the accusations that have been made are alarming and we plan to conduct our own inquiry into the matter,” the Assembly leadership wrote.
While they said that personnel matters are the jurisdiction of the mayor, LaFrance and Constant said the Assembly is planning to investigate the allegations made by Demboski that contracts and purchasing rules and laws may have been broken and that there appears to be misconduct regarding public funds.
“As the stewards of the municipal treasury, it’s our duty to ensure that taxpayer funds are spent legally and effectively. We’ve already seen this administration put millions of dollars at risk due to alleged personnel and contract improprieties. We can’t afford to let any more poorly executed contracts put the municipality’s strong financial footing in jeopardy. Therefore, we as Assembly Leadership are committed to doing everything in our power to safeguard the municipality’s finances and protect the interests of residents,” they said in a statement.
The Assembly leaders also reminded Municipal employees that there are avenues for reporting further improprieties, including the Municipal Ombudsman’s Office (907-343-4461 or [email protected]), as well as Municipality of Anchorage Labor Relations, the Municipality of Anchorage Office of Equal Opportunity, the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights, and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The Assembly wasted no time in turning up the heat on Mayor Dave Bronson, whose firing of Demboski did not go well. Bronson’s staff leaked confidential personnel information to a blog that was damaging to Demboski and appeared to be motivated by malice.
In turn, Demboski gave interviews to KTUU and the Anchorage Daily News, detailing accusations about improper contracts being signed without the approval of the Assembly, and her attempt to alert the mayor to the situation. Bronson is running for mayor for his second term that would start in 2024, and has already begun fundraising for his reelection. Any investigation into illegal contracts would coincide with his campaign efforts and create a distraction from his accomplishments.