In November, the Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance to prevent Mayor Dave Bronson’s appointees from serving for long periods of time without being confirmed by the Assembly.
That was then — when the Assembly didn’t like the mayor’s choice for the Anchorage Library directorship and wanted to make sure she didn’t serve without being confirmed.
Now, with the appointment of Uluao “Junior” Aumavae as the chief equity officer for Anchorage, leftists on the Assembly have readied a resolution to delay his confirmation.
The resolution, to be presented during Tuesday’s meeting, will spike the confirmation process that would have been a key feature of the meeting. The agenda included the confirmation of Aumavae, at the request of the mayor.
Meanwhile, Aumavae had already invited the Samoan community to come out and provide moral support for him during his confirmation. On social media, he wrote: “Come out to Loussac Library tomorrow March 15th to support my confirmation date with the Anchorage Assembly at 5pm. Let’s EAT!”
The Samoan community may come out, but may find the Assembly has gone a different direction. In the resolution delaying Aumavae’s confirmation, the Assembly says that the mayor has only “purported to appoint” Aumavae.
The Assembly, however, is ready to accept that Aumavae is an “acting” chief equity officer, and that his confirmation vote would come during the first Assembly meeting after the lawsuit between the Mayor and the Assembly is resolved.
The lawsuit is to settle the question of whether the ordinance that created the position of chief equity officer also governs whether that person can be replaced by a new mayor.
The ordinance currently says that a mayor may not replace that particular employee without the permission of the Assembly. Mayor Dave Bronson argues that is an illegal usurpation of the authority of the Executive Branch.
Bronson had fired the first chief equity officer, Clifford Armstrong, who was appointed by an unelected temporary Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson just weeks before Bronson won election to the city’s highest seat. The Armstrong appointment and quick confirmation was a way for the leftists on the Assembly to have someone right in the Mayor’s Office who would be beholden to them and would report back to them on the mayor’s activities. Quinn-Davidson returned to her seat on the Assembly after Bronson was sworn in.
Meanwhile, Armstrong financially settled with the Bronson Administration and has moved on to working as a consultant. Aumavae has been the chief equity officer since October, while litigation flew over whether Bronson has the ability to replace his own staff.
Aumavae is well-known for being a former NFL tackle for the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets. Born in Samoa and raised in Anchorage, he worked as a community outreach specialist for the Drug Enforcement Administration. He worked with non-profits, such as United Way of Anchorage, and other entities, including the Anchorage School District, private schools, the Office of the Governor, the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development, the Municipality of Anchorage’s Department of Health, and the Anchorage Assembly.
Aumavae also has worked for the National Football League Player Association, serving as the Secretary and Vice President. In that capacity, he assisted a diverse group of players in developing a plan for life in the workforce after retiring from professional football. That included connecting the former athletes with leaders in the public and private sectors to help them access the resources and benefits they needed to succeed.
“Junior Aumavae is the perfect example of someone who has overcome the hardships of life to become successful and strive to help others in need,” said Mayor Bronson. “With his background, experience, and heart, Junior will be a great addition in our efforts to ensure the Municipality of Anchorage’s workforce is more representative of the incredible diversity and talent of Anchorage’s citizens.”
Read the Assembly’s resolution at this link: