Anchorage Assembly plans investigation of accusations made by former city manager over contract improprieties

52
2640


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.

52 COMMENTS

  1. I’m glad the assembly found some time to do this in the middle of their ongoing efforts to make everything terrible.

  2. Amy. Amy. Amy. Tsk.Tsk. Tsk. The battle is bigger than one problems. A soldier never rat’s out his commander. But amy’s a woman and women are emotional and we can be a risk.

    • My understanding is that Amy D quietly left, and only went public after a covert smear campaign painting her as the villain

    • With that attitude, I assume you’ll step down from any position of authority you might have.

      Can’t risk you getting hysterical and hurting your masters.

      According to the Nuremberg trials and the UCMJ, a soldier has a duty to step forward if the orders are illegal or illegitimate.

      You might wish to re read the Bible you’re constantly waving around.

    • First of all, Amy is not a soldier, she has a responsibility to the citizens. Secondly, soldiers are not expected to do anything illegal or unethical.

  3. Got to laugh at the bs of government investigating government! Wonder how they will grow themselves through this sherade!
    Pay attention, you will see I’m right!

  4. “Hell hath no fury…” I think what we’re seeing is a citizen politician – in Bronson – at his wits end having to deal with political wh-ores in the form of the Special Needs 9 and, finally snapping. Sadly, The 9 may have accomplished what they set out to do from day one. To steal a line from Val Kilmer’s character Doc Holiday in the movie Tombstone: “Now I really hate ’em.”

    • From what I read, my observation is an internal cat fight escalated since the day Amy was appointed Municipal Manager. It should have never gone this far. Glad she bit back. Let the chips fall in the direction of fairness, if there is such a thing anymore. This is indeed a “personnel” matter that should have been handled competently.

  5. Amy Demboski’s vulgar outburst was a fireable offense, in the private sector or the public sector. She took personal responsibility for her behavior, and termination was the appropriate sanction. Going forward, an investigation into Mayor Bronson’s dealings is appropriate, but portraying any of these people as blameless is folly. She did it, she admitted it, and she was rightly fired. Now its time to leave her out of the main narrative, which is to find out why Mayor Bronson is mismanaging his assingment as the elected representative of the voters, and who in the Mayor’s orbit (up to and including Mayor Bronson) should resign for obvious incompetence and provable negligence.

    • I agree. Amy Demboski committed an offense on Monday, December 12th, that correctly resulted in her termination on December 19th. It probably took inexperienced and unqualified Niki Tshibaka, who draws a salary as the Muni’s HR Director, a while to figure out how to proceed. This likely explains the one week delay. So, that matter should consume no more oxygen.

      It is now appropriate for an outside agency to conduct an audit of Rachelle Alger’s management of the Purchasing Department and all that has taken place in that office since our mayor was sworn in. We need to know, for example, who approved the contract for the navigation center that the assembly repeatedly has declined to approve for funding. As the consequences were so dire, we must also investigate how it came to be that Anchorage’s street maintenance department was so severely understaffed (with CDL holders) and under-resourced (with functioning vehicles) when the three major snow storms hit this month. And I’d like to know why Cheryl Frasca quit.

  6. Gently, I’d say he shouldn’t resign just yet. Seems he inherited a den of snakes and incompetence in the midst of the more prominent conflicts and problems he has been facing since he took office. Seems the incompetence of the “underpinnings” of his administration should also be investigated. Just my two cents in light of 30 years in HR.

  7. Always a hoot to see the tit-for-tat of a fired employee and their employer.
    Fact is Amy admittedly made an offensive statement in front of multiple witnesses. If Bronson did not fire her – he would be on the hook for the inquisition. Bronson really had no choice.
    One could interpret Amy’s complaint about purchasing code violations as an insurance policy so that she could not be fired.
    A tactic that is basically a threat to expose the dirty laundry if she is fired.
    Politics brings out the psychopath in everyone – Merry Christmas Everyone!

    • I think you are spot on, Chris.

      Ever since I heard about the “concerns” email Amy Demboski sent to the mayor very late on the Thursday night before her termination on Monday morning, I believed she wrote it as her shield against what she knew was inevitable. If there was a code violation at the Sullivan (when the mayor allowed people to stay in the warming area), for example, Demboski should have documented her “concern” then, rather than last Thursday. She should have documented her “concern” about the start of the navigation center when it started, rather than on Thursday. AND if she really had “concern” about a toxic work environment at City Hall, then she should have stopped what she created and fostered since she started as city manager.

  8. Holy crap! When will that huge firing squad come out on that whole assembly of mismanagement and shut doors! The city shudders and suffers from all you jokers! Assembly had been pulling crap for years! Look into that and their behaviors and mismanagement! Laughable stupid!

    • Here..Here, the Asembly has been after him since Day 1..The
      Assembly mismangement and their mismanagemenrt of hiring people is about to come to the light. BRONSON, definitely KNOWS what he’s doing,, the OTHERS do not..The Assembly hiring mismanagement is NOT Bronson’s responsibility.. They are hiring people, they know they can either fire or will resign due to their screwed up mismanagement. Debby has been under tight scrutiny since Day 1..under the Assembly’s jurisdiction.

  9. How many CPA are employed by the city of Anchorage. One of the first things a student learns is internal controls. The requisitions may not also “approve” an expenditure. The corporation should be be audited for the people. The city of Anchorage Assembly does everything for the city. Theey love their unlimited jobs. Remove their titles and call them all city managers. We lost our republic. They are all renegades. They covet the employees’ jobs. We can remove all the employees and the assembly can remove snow, give each other orders until the cows come home. Very perplexing. What to do.

    • Back in the day, the MOA had a very competent internal audit staff. I’d be interested to know if it is still functioning after all these years.

      • One indicator of confusion for me is the current MOA Website. I have serious issues finding current Municipal Code on that website, especially Building Safety snow load code for residential roofs, in light of the recent record snowfall. Not so long ago, information was easily accessible with a few clicks. Better audit the IT function as well. Snort!

        • You can find most things easily if you get off the main page as quickly as you can and go to ‘https://www.muni.org/Departments/Assembly/Pages/default.aspx. Click on the “Resources” dropdown and then “Municipal Code” Voila!

        • I believe the muni web page was very functional until the the unelected mayor closed the city and people touched keyboards at home instead per CDC (a foreign corporation based in part in the city of London) took control of businesses in America. The taxpayers were rebuffed in an inexcusable, harmful manner and excluded from voting on a new mayor. One from the Anchorage assembly midst was rotated forward and she was a recent arrival with small California town (first name basis as her point of reference) background. She and those near her removed the web page as a surprise to the incoming Bronson Administration I believe very unwisely. It will be ten years if ever a comparable web page for the city ever becomes functional for Anchorage tax payers ever again.

  10. All Bronson’s critics must remember this assembly, the municipal clerk, and democrats who clenched a senate seat for Dunbar who didn’t break a sweat running for it, they are going into an investigation with their own unclean hands of publicly seen
    immoral conduct, improprities, and illegal use of public dollars before and after bronson.

    Problem is the assembly’s own illegalities went unchecked because this is a democrat town. Whatever happens God is still in control, HE’s been building up His Church- not how the churches would think that their membership will increase. When our mayor bronson term is complete, the church movement could use his skills and efforts. this little crisis would make him a better church worker than the way he was before it.

    • If I follow correctly, everything is part of God’s master plan unless it involves liberals getting elected. In those cases, God’s will is being temporarily thwarted by those darned gullible voters. But not to worry; God is working secretly to overcome this obstacle in ways only a select few understand, but that will result in True Christians, Not So True Christians, and Non-Christians uniting to elect more Godly candidates in the next cycle. And, most importantly, it’s heresy to ponder whether these more Godly candidates may or may not more competent officials than their predecessors.

      Did I get it?

      • Not exactly. God is indifferent to a large degree regarding our day to day lives.

        We lost that prerogative when we got kicked out of Eden.

        God doesn’t care who gets elected to what, who wins a football game, and who wins in Vegas.

        If you want to get deeper into the weeds, God often uses bad people to do his will as much as good people. Consider he left his chosen people in brutal bondage in Egypt until it suited His bigger picture.

        We all serve Him in some way or another, often not realizing we did or knowing why. Even liberals. Even atheists.

        God is not thwarted by anything. He moves in a way we will never understand.

        But I’m not part of the Bible thumping crowd, just a day to day Christian. I’m not gonna spend any more time on matters of faith where it’s bot directly related to the topic at hand.

        • Well said. He gave us the opportunity and strength to solve our problems with faith in His teachings, and how we do it is important to Him. Free will.

    • Yes – I have had a trusted financial manager for many years. The recovery from this melee will take a long time. Seems we are in uncharted territory now. Take care.

  11. Most of the improprieties to date have been regarding actions taken by the assembly. Which they have ignored and done the wrong thing anyway. But now they are concerned. Perhaps they should be concerned about the misuse of taxpayer and Covid funds. The assembly definitely doesn’t have clean hands and is in no position to be righteous at this point. Office politics should be resolved in the office, children.

  12. Wow, the liberal assembly backing a conservative? I guess they’ll use whatever means available to attack their great Satan.

  13. I miss the days when this place wasn’t sermonette central. We used to just argue left v right.

    Nowadays it’s often an exercise in pompous piety by people who clearly don’t get the book they read. If they read it at all.

    • This is a community of many generations, varying education levels, languages and cultures. Christianity is like this also. The attraction to the word and salvation comes at different entry points in life for various ones participating. Anchorage is hospitable to a flaw sometimes. We desire to be converted to something – anything to get away from our horrible selves: to Christianity, atheism, alternative lifestyles, California, one world order waifdom, inter-national traveller, becoming authoritative dictators, geologists, renovating history and archeology for whatever its worth (I mean that sincerely). Winters are interminable and conversions are in order. I have long said travelling outside of Alaska periodically may be necessary for optimum mental health. However the USA’s actual enemies foreign and domestic have delimited these options for the time being. I do expect the Creator of the Universe to intervene as described in the Holy Scriptures at some point in an effective powerful manner thus saving His inhabited earth 🌎. Those who have established a relationship in a manner HE accepts will find that relationship the most valuable one they have ergo “salvation”.

      • Loaded weapon? For what reason? I’m a Second Amendment supporter, but in today’s world, it defies reason that anyone would bring a loaded weapon to an Assembly meeting, regardless of their position on the issues of the day. This isn’t the Old West in days of yore. Get a grip and be responsible. Yikes!

  14. Does anyone else notice that this was all basically caused by the Homeless? (Nav Center, G Lion.Sully)
    We have no bus stop seats anymore because of the homeless.
    Every men’s room North of Tudor Rd is locked (& trashed) because of the homeless.
    Our stores no longer use all their entrances because of the homeless.

    How long are we going to let this smelly, misbehaved minority ruin our city?
    And for what? Their “freedom” (to die young)

Comments are closed.