Assembly will take public testimony on family leave plan

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On March 7, the Anchorage Assembly will hear public testimony on AO 2023-20, an ordinance to enact a paid parental leave benefit for municipal employees.

The ordinance comes up for a hearing just two weeks after the Assembly installed Juneteenth and Indigenous Peoples’ Day as new paid holidays, adding a net of two additional paid days off for municipal workers. It brings the total holiday schedule to 13, plus employees’ personal leave days. And now, more time off for new parents.

Sponsored by Assembly Members Austin Quinn-Davidson, Meg Zaletel and Chair Suzanne LaFrance, AO 2023-20 would formalize four continuous weeks of paid leave to new parents and guardians working for the municipality. The policy applies to new mothers, fathers, and legal guardians.

The costs to the city could be in the millions of dollars but the Assembly has given no fiscal transparency to this ordinance. The municipal budget, although it received vetoes from Mayor Dave Bronson, had several million added to it by the Assembly and now stands at about $584 million for this year, the largest operating budget in Anchorage history.

Quinn-Davidson served as the unelected temporary mayor after Mayor Ethan Berkowitz left office in a hurry in 2020, after after getting caught in a still-unclear relationship with a reporter. Quinn-Davidson, upon realizing that Dave Bronson had won the mayor’s race in 2021, hastily enacted the family leave policy, because her chosen candidate, Forrest Dunbar, did not win that race. Bronson rescinded it when he came into office.

“This policy is years in the making and long overdue,” said Assembly Chairwoman Suzanne LaFrance. “In 2020, the Assembly authorized the adoption of a parental leave policy, and after more than eight months of research, development and assessment by municipal departments and stakeholders, the former Quinn-Davidson Administration adopted this very policy. The mayor rescinded the policy within weeks of taking office and the municipal workforce felt the burden of that hasty, short-sighted decision.”

The proposed ordinance is available to view online at this link.

Options to testify:

Provide testimony during the meeting at the Loussac Library Assembly Chambers.

Sign up to provide testimony during the meeting by phone: ancgov.info/testify

Provide written testimony: ancgov.info/testify.

Email Assembly members: [email protected]

21 COMMENTS

  1. How about a hard no to privilege for me, but not for the. Private sector you would no be allowed such privilege. Since when did public service become an elite class? Did they forget they are the employees of the people?

    • Funny, you actually are allowed this at many places in the private sector. GCI, ANTHC, many of the larger employers in town offer this.

      • Do they also provide a 100% public paid retirement and 100% public paid health care plan like MOA? Yeah didn’t think so

        • MOA employees DO NOT get 100% public paid retirement and 100% public paid health care plans. They have to contribute to those benefits like everyone else.

          • Only until they have worked for a set amount of time and our vetted. I have it from a former MOA employee that this is how it works. If you are in a full time position in the MOA and vetted, it is 100% paid retirement and health care. This person actually left that position because the co worker was pulling in 100,000 and another 100,000 in above said benefits, while 100% under performing in the position.

    • They are both one and the same. This will pass regardless how the public feels. I hope the unions get everything and more so their neighborhood will know how the rich live. The sheep will vote for more of the same.

  2. Bit of a typo in the headline.
    It should say “Assembly will feign interest in public testimony on family leave plan before voting like they intended to all along.”
    No need to thank me, I am glad to help

    • I’ve been saying for years, since first attending one, that these so-called “municipal assemblies” are nothing but kabuki theater, where the outcomes are a foregone conclusion, and the members are just there to publicly rubber-stamp decisions made secretly and behind closed doors long before. It is all a complete farce.

  3. I don’t like this. Some departments already believe they must be shielded from the public and the publics’ concerns. Holding spots open for employees who aren’t there is no benefit for the public. If they don’t to be there off they go.

    • You may not like it but a pesky little federal law already requires an employer to hold the position for family leave. This just makes it paid.

  4. I support these types of measures that enhance the quality of family life, the cost will be more than covered with more productive employees IMO

  5. Well, the fix is in and this is all just to satisfy the masses so the Assembly said we “listened” to you and came to the decision we texted amongst ourselves many weeks ago in secret with self-deleting messenging app.

  6. Of course Suzanne leaves out that the parental leave is only for non-rep/executive employees and not those in a union. So, a fraction of the overall MOA workforce. I can’t speak to if it will still cost millions of dollars, but it’s not entire MOA like Suzanne is suggesting.

    Also, the private sector is changing as well regarding parental leave. GCI, one of the largest employers in Alaska with most of the 1,800 being in-state just enacted a similar family leave benefit for employees. These are good things for workers and good for recruitment/retention.

  7. I wonder how many businesses in the private sector offer 4 weeks of paid maternity leave? I’ve worked in the private sector for the past 40+ years and haven’t heard of any. Most of the women I worked with saved up their vacation time, personal days and sick days (if allowed) to use them for time off after having a baby. I get it though, Municipal employees don’t work for us – we work for them.

  8. Lets pass this ordinance with one amendment. To pay for this it must come from the assembly member pay checks and their personal bank accounts. Once those dry up let it come from any investment they have. Finally when all the funding has dried up terminate the ordinance. This is reasonable to me as I don’t support my tax dollars being used in this manner.

  9. A little pay back to the public employees union for their election support. And how can anybody be against family leave, for people who decided to grant birth to a child.

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