Anchorage ombudsman admits he dropped out of school to smoke dope and drink cheap wine, but says he is qualified


Darrel Hess, the municipal ombudsman in the middle of a self-made scandal in which he has made accusations about the mayor of Anchorage, admitted on a podcast this week that he has no academic preparation that would qualify him for the ombudsman’s job, other than his life experiences.

“I don’t even have a university degree, I’m a university drop out. Back in the day I discovered cheap wine and good marijuana from the Valley, and dropped out of college. I regret never going back, but I think my life’s experiences were good preparation for the position.”

Hess, in January, wrote a memo to the Anchorage Assembly, the majority of whom he aligns with politically, stating that members of Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration had been downloading security videos that showed who came and went from the Ombudsman’s Office. The memo was included in the packet for a special meeting of the Assembly, during which members went into executive session to explore their options for punishing the mayor for this and other allegations.

Hess has also requested a review by municipal Law Department, as spying on employees who are whistleblowers may be considered a form of misconduct. There is no known evidence that the incidents to which he refers actually occurred.

“Recently, multiple Municipal employees have contacted the Ombudsman’s Office alleging that an executive with the Municipality had stated that the Mayor’s Office has been downloading copies of City Hall surveillance videos to see who is accessing the Ombudsman’s Office and interacting with Assembly Members. Employees have stated that they are hesitant to visit our office because they are afraid that access to our office is being monitored. The employees perceive the alleged statements by the executive to be an attempt to intimidate them to not contact the Ombudsman’s Office,” the memo said.

Hess came up through the ranks of city government, first starting as a project manager in 2008 for the Office of Economic Development, and later serving as the city’s homeless coordinator. He has served as the city’s ombudsman since 2012, and is the person to whom citizens can lodge complaints or concerns about city government. Having lasted through several administrations at City Hall, he is now running something akin to a parallel mayor’s office and reports to the Anchorage Assembly.


  1. Just what we could expect from an assembly supporting wanna-be. Voters should be more truthfully informed before voting. Way too much lying and miss information. Do your homework or continue to lose your freedoms and rights.

  2. I did not know that Jonny Fever is now employed by the city. I guess when he read the job description he qualified for a budsman.

  3. So he’s another disgruntled leftist trying to bring down an election he didn’t like.

    How Very Democrat of him.

    Count every vote….until the Democrats win.

  4. He just didn’t hold out long enough… with the wine and weed pre-requisites he would have been a shoo-in for grad school if he could have just gotten through undergrad. Throw in some Adderall (what was called amphetamine back in his day) and he could have been a multidisciplinary PhD in any combination of subjects with the word “studies” at the end. Or maybe philosophy, metaphysics, or certain subfields of Mathematics.

  5. Box wine stoner. You don’t see that as a pre-req on job listings very often these days.

    This guy’s job is a flashback to the old “Tell it to Bud” column in the Anchorage Times back 50 years ago before a pretentious welder bought it.

  6. I dropped out of school also but did not smoke dope but drink some cheap wine.
    That is my resume, and I am looking for a good job in government. Looking forward to your response..

    • “cheap wine and good marijuana from the Valley.”
      This guy is over qualified for being honest about his credentials and experiences. But since when did “good” marijuana come from the Valley? Unless, it was tucked-in between potatoes and cabbages in Palmer.

  7. Typical MOA employee,
    They get in the door & start getting along w/ everybody as they climb the ladder to better positions.
    Doesn’t matter if you do a good job (Mr Hess GREW homelessness when he ran it)
    Just be pleasing, don’t make enemies and move up the food chain.
    Qualifications & job performance are irrelevent.

  8. Slow news week? I don’t see the issue. I’ve got a similar resume and I am doing very well in business. I like how he is being real!

    • You are “doing very well in business” (congratulations)
      This guy is a government leech.
      See the difference?

    • Slow news, not so much, considering the guy is running a parallel government in city hall. And Suzanne wasn’t judging him, so much as simply giving him a greater voice. Good for her.

  9. I agree, same here and many other Alaskans. I had a successful career. Raised children who are hard working and contributing to society. I listened to the interview and thought he came across honest. Personally I am glad the position of ombudsman exists. My mother was in a nursing home. She was a WW ll vet. She was entitled to medication through the VA. The nursing home was refusing to administer the medication as they were not individually packaged. I went to the administrator, threatened them with going to the ombudsman and they capitulated.

  10. My observations confirm for me that he still spends considerable time drinking cheap wine and smoking dope. How he manages to show up at the “beck and call” of the assembly majority is what surprises me. I suspect that Felix and Chris are very demanding of the OmBUDsman’s time.

  11. Non liberals can learn how to move up, quietly,
    by observing this man’s personality and work experience, beyond his
    sketchy past he has much to offer. Every
    place today is hiring. If one can pretend to be a liberal, governments like ocs may hire a new workforce, case managers who don’t forget their family
    purpose, w/o realizing what liberal employers
    done. Then work one’s way up. As Well as
    filing grievance reports against dysfunctional liberal supervisors is
    easier if the harmed is an employee to knockout dysfunctional liberals out of government.

      • How does smoking cannabis make a man weak or a eunuch?

        I think alcohol makes all who consume it weak.

        Talk to the cops, rarely do they show up to domestic violence calls where alcohol is not a contributing factor. Conversely, cannabis is rarely cited as a cause for domestic violence

        • Pablo, Your response to Jen is unconvincing. Her allegation regarding the loss of masculinity amongst heavy pot smoking males was not answered by your comparison to Alcohol abuse.
          The old Alcohol is worse defense isn’t working for you here, and in fact your rebuttal merely makes Jen’s point.

          • My response was questioning how consuming cannabis makes a man less masculine/weak and a eunuch. And showing a comparison to a widely available and used substance that has been shown to cause more issues than cannabis.

            How does cannabis castrate a man? That’s what a eunuch is, a man who has been castrated.

            I feel that Jen’s OPINION is wrong, just as you, and possibly her, think my OPINION is wrong.

            Nothing I stated is a FACT, but my OPINION. I used circumstantial evidence to back up my OPINION, but with out scientific or statistical data, my OPINION does not become a FACT and remains an OPINION.

            See the difference?

  12. What a hack job. Who hasn’t done things in their youth that they later know wasn’t the smartest?

  13. With the current Assembly make up, dropping out of college, drinking cheap wine, and getting stoned likely makes him more qualified in their eyes.

  14. This isn’t a “hack job” or a slow news day; it’s informative investigative journalism where Must Read highlights the lack of qualifications of a very influential municipal employee. The ombudsman was just given super powers by the assembly, and yet when he was awarded the job he had no experience and no degree. Scary? Yes. Surprising? No.

  15. What might one learn in college? Paragraph ing? Comma wars? If you need to take a breath put in a comma?

  16. In a court of law, this information would be considered irrelevant and immaterial. What does the qualifications for MOA ombudsmen have anything to do with past weed use or education level

    According to the MOA Charter:
    The Municipal Ombudsman’s Office was established in addition to other remedies or rights of appeal, as an independent, impartial municipal office, readily available to the public, responsible to the Assembly, empowered to investigate the acts of Municipal agencies and the Anchorage School District, and to recommend appropriate changes toward the goals of safeguarding the rights of persons and of promoting higher standards of competency, efficiency, and equity in the provision of municipal services (A.M.C. Chapter 2.60). The office was established in 1977 by AO 1977-94.

    Please tell me how Hess is not qualified.

    • MRAK is not asserting he is not qualified. We are just giving him a bigger platform to advertise his qualifications. – sd

  17. He is qualified and can do his job because he reports to and identifies with the Left. If he reported to and identified with Bronson he should lose his head – ideally by guillotine.

  18. He is pleased to know very lightly the US Constitution and is in no danger of flagging unconstitutional, illegal group acts impinging Americans rights in Anchorage and everyone can get behind that. “He has a lot to offer”.

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