Assembly prepares for the kill: This time its mayor's nominee for Anchorage Libraries - Must Read Alaska
Connect with:
Sunday, November 28, 2021
HomePoliticsAssembly prepares for the kill: This time its mayor’s nominee for Anchorage Libraries

Assembly prepares for the kill: This time its mayor’s nominee for Anchorage Libraries

gif ad for must read alaska donations

It’s hunting season for the progressive Anchorage Assembly, which is on the brink of shooting down another one of Mayor Dave Bronson’s nominees.

In the history of Anchorage, no nominee of a mayor has been known to be denied by the Assembly, but earlier this month, the long knives came out for the appointed director for the Municipal Health Department, who withdrew in the 11th hour under their certain rejection, even though he had 40 years of experience in health management — and the previous director for that department had zero years, but still was confirmed.

Now the liberal majority is going after Sami Graham, the nominee to run the Anchorage Libraries. It’s a war the Assembly has silently declared on a mayor of whom they disapprove, the mayor who had never served in elected office before but who beat one of their own — Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar — during the last election.

Graham, formerly the principal at Grace Christian School, has a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from University of Alaska, Anchorage, a M.S. in Counseling from Long Island University, a BA in Music Education from University of Utah, and Alaska certification in teaching, counseling and administration.

The liberal majority running the Assembly doesn’t like that Graham has all that experience, including management of a school library, but does not have a degree sanctioned by the American Library Association, which is the trade group that controls who runs America’s libraries.

Read: Librarians are almost always registered Democrats

Graham has lots of supporters, and even former Gov. Bill Walker sent in a letter on her behalf.

Walker wrote that Graham “has an incredible work ethic, integrity, compassion, embraces and befriends many people who do not share the same faith or political affiliation, and has dedicated her professional career as a teacher, counselor and principal to improving the educational opportunities for Anchorage’s diverse student population. Sami wants every child to succeed. Sami’s strong communication and interpersonal skills, her decades of work with Anchorage’s diverse population of students and families, her excellent organizational skills, staff management and administrative skills and her strong character all contribute to making her a solid candidate for this position and I hope you will . . . confirm her appointment.”

The Assembly liberal majority appears to be focused on Graham’s lack of a master’s degree of library science.

According to Niki Tshibaka, Human Resources director for the municipality, the mayor is not bound by the “minimum qualifications: for the position.

“Specifically, Section 3.30.024D of our Municipal Code provides as follows: The qualifications statements in each class specification establish requirements that must be met by an individual before consideration for appointment or promotion to a position in the class. Common alternative combinations of education, training or experience are specified in the class specifications. However, other combinations may be qualifying, if deemed equivalent by the director,” Tshibaka said to the Assembly during the work session last week.

In other words, if Michelle Obama was appointed to become library director for Anchorage, the Assembly might find her completely acceptable because of other qualifications.

Tshibaka noted that the library director’s position description does not even require a MLS degree.

“If we were going to be technical about Sami’s qualifications, we would be compelled to recognize that there is a clear conflict between the minimum qualifications set forth in the general job class specification and the Minimum Qualifications set forth in the specific position description. So, even if the Mayor were bound to follow a wooden reading of the minimum qualifications for this position – which I’ve already demonstrated is not the case – he still would need to decide which document to follow: the job class specification or the position description?” Tshibaka explained to the Assembly.

What the Assembly is really concerned about is preserving Drag Queen Story Hour at the library, as well as maintaining the libraries as a shelter for drug addicts and vagrants. In fact, the library has public space that it rents out and, according to its current policy, it cannot discriminate against the drag queens, and it has no say over what books they can read to children whose parents bring them to such events. As for drug addicts and vagrants taking over libraries, it’s a problem that libraries face across the country. Many argue that librarians should have degrees in social work, considering what libraries have become.

“The mayor simply requests that this Assembly continue a long-held tradition that it and its predecessors have adhered to and honored – namely, that Anchorage’s Mayors are authorized and empowered by our municipal code to appoint their teams, even if some of them do not satisfy certain minimum qualifications, so long as they otherwise possess ‘equivalent’ qualifications relevant to the position at issue. For the sake of this and future mayoral administrations, Mayor Bronson respectfully submits that ending this unbroken tradition in his administration could have far-reaching and unintended consequences for future mayoral administrations and assemblies,” Tshibaka said.

If the Assembly doesn’t confirm Graham, the mayor still has options. He can appoint her to a deputy director position, then make her the acting director. Acting director would require no confirmation.

The Assembly meeting starts at 5 pm on Tuesday, Aug. 24.

The Graham confirmation comes during the consent agenda, but will certainly be pulled out as a special item. Those who want to comment on it during that consent agenda portion of the meeting must sign up for public testimony before Friday, or they would alternately have to line up to testify in the 5:15-6pm general public testimony period. Written testimony can be sent to: [email protected].

Assembly meetings are streamed and televised. The link is http://www.muni.org/watchnow.

Donations Welcome

Share

Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • The Library is another forum used by the Marxist progressives to brainwash and indoctrinate our society. If we are ever going to get this country back to its Constitutional foundations, conservatives must win theses battles.

  • Mayor Berkowitz changed the city requirements that the Building Official (permit department) didn’t have to be a civil engineer. So he hired Bob Doehl. Kind of the same thing. Bob had a lot of administration experience. I see this change for managing the libraries in a similar way, except now the outcry is from the left.

  • A Master’s degree in Library Science…haha…what a joke.
    Here’s some descriptions of the awesome education you’ll get:
    .
    “ Public Librarian – This concentration benefits students looking to work in government-funded library settings. Courses generally cover outreach processes, media distribution, event curation, and other duties that public librarians perform to serve adults and children in their communities.”
    .
    “ Although professionals with a related bachelor’s degree can fill entry-level roles in a library setting, those looking to fill salaried positions as public librarians, school librarians, and academic librarians must generally hold a master’s degree in library science. These master’s programs typically detail how to collect, organize, archive, and present media.”
    .
    Outreach, media distribution, events…all things that libraries are spending our money doing in a desperate attempt to stay relevant in an internet age.
    Libraries have become places for people to get free internet and for bums to sleep.
    Just head down to your local branch and see if it’s true or not.
    When you can type a search string into your phone and find almost any information you want or need it’s obvious that traditional libraries that served as a central repository for hard to find books, magazines, etc. have become almost irrelevant…well, except for bums and other people who don’t want to pay their own way.
    Libraries should go the way of the buggy whip and for the same reason.

    • PJ reminds me of a rural county commissioner who once told me that everything he ever needed to know, he could have found out in the encyclopedias in the one room school house he went to as a child.

    • PJ: You seem a bit lean on life observations but can read a position description. You appear to have a lack an understanding of what and how a librarian does their job with an M.L.I.S. degree. Active “listening” and providing a variety of library services and programming takes a professional education and life-work experiences working with the public.

      Professional Librarians help and serve everyone – visible ones on the front desks as well as the invisible ones cataloging/reviewing/ordering print & digital resources and licensing agreements; and those working to keep the internet and computers/printers functioning. City IT doesn’t do everything.

      You may be surprised that typing a string into your cell phone’s browser is NOT the same as a library catalog or archives.

      You’ve heard of life-long learning? …which does not require any academic degree. A public library provides all the free resources to fulfill personal learning goals. And unlike restaurants and other businesses, the library allows well-behaved patrons to sit and read, listen, browse, search all the hours it is open.

  • This Assembly (except Allard) they have such a poor sorry attitude. Ooooooo! They are missing out on life!

    • Ms. Allard’s attitude is certainly compassionate but might want to brush up on “active” listening skills.

  • She might have “…an incredible work ethic, integrity, compassion, embraces and befriends many people who do not share the same faith or political affiliation…” etc., etc., The problem is she doesn’t have a library science degree.
    This is simple. When you’re sick, you go to a doctor because she is trained for the job and knows what she is doing. You don’t go to a veterinarian. Likewise, you don’t take your dog or cat to an MD.
    This lady, sweet though she may be, does not have the requirements for the job.
    There is only one requirement to become mayor of Anchorage, or governor of Alaska; get the most votes. Running a library is a complicated job and can be easily screwed up by someone who doesn’t know what he/she is doing. (We won’t delve into the issues of having someone running the state if he/she doesn’t know what “they” are doing). We could vote for the Director of Libraries and make it a political position, or we could hire someone trained and qualified for the job. OJT for this position is not going to cut it, no matter how gifted the hired may be. Ms. Graham quite simply is not qualified. If she wants to get a library science degree and reapply, I think she might be a fine choice, and she would know what she was doing.
    Life has become much more complex than it used to be. Fixing cars is more complicated. Computers have changed the playing field, yet we have a system of government that puts enormous power into the hands of one person whose only qualification for the job is that he got more votes than anyone else. Our current mayor has never held political office before but had a career as a commercial pilot. Would you trust the former mayor to fly your airliner? And would you want someone running the library system who had never done it before?
    And besides, who among you would want to listen to Walker’s recommendation anyway?

    • Wrong. Sami Graham is totally qualified to run the library. The last time I checked, every school has a modern library and as a principal and a long time educator, she more than understands their function. She will have a staff that she can delegate specific tasks to, something that as a professional manager she knows how to do. The Assembly is acting like little children who are pouting after their boy lost the mayor’s race. So petty.

      • This comment explains why Mayor Dan was a disaster as mayor. He doesn’t understand that specific knowledge and skill sets are required to perform certain jobs. Ms. Graham may have been a school principal but she was not a school librarian. And even if she were knowledgeable about school libraries, she still wouldn’t necessarily be able run a public library. Maybe this is why the police department is in such bad shape after Mayor Dan’s term of office. He thought he knew better than the police officials what the job was.
        So, find someone with a library science degree who knows what he/she is doing and has experience in the proper field, and nominate that person for the position. It’s really not that complicated.

    • Anyone can run for public office with and without a college degree.

      Would such a candidate be disqualified holding a public office because of their knowledge didn’t come from a university, but instead attained through their history of employments, relationships, library resources, attending public meetings, and resident experiences?

      Your examples why Mrs. Graham isn’t qualified based upon not having the professional credential can easily be disputed. Lots of employees have been given jobs where they didnt meet every single qualification. Today! Employers are still hiring employees not meeting all or any qualifications for the job the employee applied for.

      • “Anyone can run for public office with and without a college degree. Would such a candidate be disqualified holding a public office…”
        Unfortunately, no. The only requirement for elected office is to get more votes than the other guy/s.
        Mr. Bronson is starting to show signs that he will become a poster child for the incompetent, inept, how-hard-can-this-be crowd who thinks that everything elected officials do can be done by whoever comes up with the best political spiel, no matter how vacuous it may be.
        Good luck, Anchorage. You’re gonna need it.

    • I’m surprised that you can walk upright, but homo erectus was himself a pretty primitive creature. It is an affirmative action degree like all the other studies degrees to get and require credentials for leftist incompetents most of whom should be no closer to a legitimate college classroom than the custodial or grounds crew; think the credentialed dolts that are running the the Dementia Administration.

      I don’t know what if anything you do for a living but you’ve obviously never been a public manager except perhaps in a Democrat administration where competence goes to die. In government the head of anything above the work section level needs to be a good generalist with management skills and good judgement. S/he needs to know enough about the technical work of the agency to call BS on incompetence and ideological agendae, and needs to know how to hire decent subject matter experts to do the technical work.

      I know the credentialed fascists well enough to know that they think that they should be an aristocracy who only need to present their participation certificate to be in charge of things. Of course, that all breaks down when they actually have to accomplish something.

      • Better than I could have written it, but my thoughts exactly.

      • Great response to a person who thinks a participation degree equals some kind of skill or ability.
        She doesn’t have a BS (oops…MS) in how to check out or shelve books…or is an advanced degree specialized in how to make a library attractive to drug addicts and homeless degenerates?…hard to know, really, when that’s what the current crop of so well qualified and credentialed “professionals” have turned our libraries into.
        Homo must be a Democrat because they like authority figures telling them how to think and giving them their opinions to regurgitate…like brainwashed parrots.

      • My, my, I must have touched a nerve here. For those who don’t know, Mr. Chance was a bureaucrat who did the dirty work of his duly elected masters. The incompetence of his masters is obvious in the dismal situation the State of Alaska finds itself after many, many years of their dominance in oil rich, Alaska politics. Perhaps we all should have paid attention more attention while that was going on.
        But that’s another story. The simple fact that he does not understand the complexity of running a public library displays the ignorance of those who would suppose they know better than the appropriately trained and educated how to do a job.
        If you don’t believe that, watch the library system break down if the powers that be hire someone to run it who doesn’t know what s/he is doing, and how difficult it will be to put it back together.

        • And for those that don’t know Homo Erectus Dysfunction, here’s a man who spent three quarters of a post using opinion to tear a man down in order to make an opinionated point. It is easy to see why our politicians have no decorum. They are a direct reflection of the society they come from.

          • Well, yes, you could make this argument, but tell that to the tens of thousands of people who will not be getting a PFD this year because the GOP run state has either pandered to the oil companies, engaged in their own pie-in-the-sky capital projects, or simply mishandled the money generated by oil wealth that would have put the state in a position similar to Norway, who found a way to fund a bank account with oil money that’s worth enough to pay for their entire populace….
            Well, you get my drift.
            Like they say, follow the money. Money has no decorum.
            Neither does incompetence.

        • I don’t disagree with your last post. The one thing that a two party system has done is blind people to the fact that both parties are actually working against the people while having the people divided and at each other’s throats. One party outright admits they want socialism and the other lies to their followers while putting on a show and saying the right words, then folding behind the scene, also wanting socialism. Neither can get the power and money they desire under a government of the people.
          .
          So you and most of the Country continue to claim their team is better than the others’, fighting amongst each other with your own self righteousness, in the meanwhile, both teams are working together and taking us to the cleaners. It’s all a big show and when the curtain comes down, you are subjugated. And so Marxism, Socialism and Communism governs America, the new United States of Communist China.

        • Stick to something you know something about, like actually doing real work, something you lefty punks aren’t much on.

          I implemented and for a time ran the State’s relations with its unionized employees, the vast bulk of the workforce, in the aftermath of the mid-Eighties oil price crash through the beginning of the price bubble of the mid-00s. I doubt a leftie genius like you could actually read a State CAFR, but if you could, you would find that I, my peers, and my superiors kept the State’s operating budget essentially flat from the mid-’80s to the mid-00s. We did it without consequential program cuts and without significant reductions in force.

          During the mid-’90s I told the leftist Knowles Administration to “take this job and shove it” and went to work for the Republican controlled Legislature with the Administration’s misery as my mission. Though the communists, excuse me, Democrats wanted to spend money like drunken sailors, we simply wouldn’t let them, and the Legislature ultimately holds the purse strings.

          By the time I was more or less in charge of things in late Knowles and then in Murkowski, we had a little money for the first time in almost twenty years. I put the first consequential general wage increase that State employees had seen since ’91 or so on the table, a whopping three percent. We kept peace in the valley for a whole gubernatorial term for the first time since collective bargaining began for most State employees in 1974.

          With the help of the left and the media, Knowles and Palin engaged in a bidding war over who could pander best, and with Palin’s election the drunken sailors took charge. By then I was an old retired guy hanging out at the marina and in waterfront bars with my boating buddies and occasionally taking to the media to tell them what they should have done. Find somebody else to blame for pi**ing away all that money.

    • So you’re saying a woman who supervised librarians can’t run a library?

      Interesting logic

      • You want logic from a radical leftist and a Marxist? You’re shopping not just in the wrong aisle, MA, but in the wrong store altogether.

      • I’m saying supervising a school library is not the same thing as running an entire public library system. A school principal has numerous duties, but running the library or acting as the school nurse are not two of them. The fact that she understands the duties of the librarian and the nurse does not qualify her to perform them. Hospital managers work with health professional but he isn’t qualified to do their jobs. A head librarian is like a hospital manager who has to know how to handle all those jobs.

        • That is utter BS! It is a job that if it weren’t for the forced credentialing successfully lobbied for by the ALA, would be little more than clerk work. It is just another of the fake credentials that lefties lobby for so they can get other lefties into positions of power.

    • You sure put a huge value on a degree. There are plenty of degrees walking around out there who’s owners don’t possess the common sense to come in out of the rain! I would say Sami Graham’s credentials & experience would let her shine in the Library position.

      • Graham would be highly qualified if only she were a communist and a lesbian.

  • I have served on a city library Board of Trustees with fiduciary responsibility in California. The library was a crown jewel for our city and drew many people to establish their residence there. It was a community gathering place for families and youth.

    The Loussac Library is an embarassment and a horrible environment for our children of any age to be unaccompanied. Four years ago, a high school student filling an ex-officio position, challenged the Advisory Board (no fiduciary responsibility) to prohibit pornography on library computers. The City Librarian and Advisory Board fought her on her policy proposal because they were servants of the ALA. Only when her policy became public, in the newspaper, radio, nextdoor, etc. and she gave a stellar fact based presentation, did the Advisory Board finally agree to change the policy. The librarians were not happy and one pulled her aside afterwards threatening to change the policy back after she left.

  • How many Assembly Members have Masters Degrees in HTBAAP. How to be an Assembly Person. Not only are most of the Assembly off base with their attitudes towards a duly elected Mayor…they are setting the tone for the future relationships of our local government officials. The next cycle could see a reversal of roles I.e. lefty mayor and conservative Assembly. I bet you the local rags would take a different view of a lib Mayor being treated this way.

    Sami comes from a long time Alaskan family that poured its heart and soul into this state and town. A West Point husband and son and two other kids who are smart and solid working citizens in this town. Two Masters degrees, a Bachelor degree , a 25 year career in the Anchorage School district as a teacher and Administrator, an Administrator in Education in the private sector…and most importantly a wonderful mom, grandma , and wife. Maybe she is over qualified to watch over a few librarians.

    Let’s match those achievements against the resumes of our Assembly!

  • I look forward to a refreshed approach regarding the public library use and scheduling. It will be great to have the library available among the scholars in this town again. She should have a great time helping Anchorage get reacquainted with all the new books!

  • Please write them. They don’t think we are watching. We must use any available means to make sure they do what they are supposed to do.

    • They know.

      They don’t care.

  • In Xanadu did Kubla Khan…

    • A stately pleasure dome decree where Alph the sacred river ran….

    • A stately pleasure dome decree….

  • It’s only been a few months, but I’m already getting weary of the small-mindedness and pettiness of this assembly. I sincerely believe they’re trying to keep Bronson off balance so they can step in and shut down the city again and put thousands more out of work while putting even more businesses out of business.

  • These aren’t LIBERALS on the assembly, these are ‘communists’ or be nice if you like, ‘socialists’ on the assembly. The only liberals left are conservative ones and Sami is more of a liberal than anyone on this assembly. They are authoritarians. If they could they would send you to jail for speaking out against them. We cannot fight them if we cannot call them by name!

  • Who actually utilizes a library any longer?

    • Maybe you’re a lone wolf who doesn’t?

      Didn’t you know that online digital access is part of the library? You don’t need to walk into a building to access thousands of library materials and streaming media.

      The library card is still free. What a deal!

      • I almost grew up in a small town library. Back when they were safe for children and and didn’t believe in censorship. But the last time I went to the library here 2 years ago I saw: a hypodermic needle on the bathroom floor, the Christian books were defaced and outside a group of seemingly homeless folk were milling about. One of whom vomited and another of whom I wasn’t sure was passed out or dead. What A Deal!

      • Are you homeless? Those of us who actually support ourselves and pay taxes and mundane stuff like that have comprehensive digital access from home and don’t need to go to the pervert preserve, excuse me, the library.

    • Smart people.

  • Can you make video of Niki Tshibakas remarks about Mrs. Sami Graham. More people need to hear his remarks from tonight’s meeting.
    There are too many prejudice people.

    • Same thing with Jaime Allard’s remarks.

%d bloggers like this: