Should the Anchorage Municipal Clerk be elected?
The Clerk now reports to the Anchorage Assembly. Among her duties, including helping the Assembly keep track of its work, she also manages elections that affect that very same Assembly.
Some in Anchorage observe that the current clerk, Barbara Jones, is biased toward the Assembly majority, and even more biased against the conservative mayor of Anchorage. Some have characterized her as an unelected 12th member of the Anchorage Assembly, and she has come into conflict with conservative campaigns, such as the Dave Bronson campaign for mayor in April and May. After Bronson was elected, she accused his administration of interfering with her work, simply because his office posted a notice advising people of an upcoming election. She blasted him in the media for “meddling” in her work.
Mayor Bronson seeks to remedy that condition that has wrought voter mistrust by asking the Assembly to make the Clerk’s position an elected one, as it is in hundreds of larger localities around the nation.
Under the charter change, which would need to be approved by voters in April, the Clerk would be elected at-large for a three-year term. A candidate for Municipal Clerk would be required to:
- Be a qualified voter in the Municipality of Anchorage
- Be a resident of Anchorage for two years prior to the election
- Maintain residency in Anchorage, while in office
“The Municipal Clerk serves an important role in the administration, supervision, and execution of our elections. Anchorage voters should have a say in who does this job,” said Mayor Bronson. “Having the Clerk elected by the people will improve transparency, create accountability, and increase trust in the democratic process.”
As this ordinance proposes changing the charter, it requires a two-thirds vote by the Assembly, and then an affirmative vote by a simple majority of qualified voters to take effect. Should the Assembly pass it, a ballot proposition would appear on the April 5, 2022, election giving Anchorage voters a choice on whether the Clerk should be elected.
“I urge the Assembly to allow the voters of Anchorage have their say on this issue,” stated Mayor Bronson. “Clerks around our country are elected by the people, it is time Anchorage does the same.”