Breaking: Mayor Bronson asks Assembly to change Muni charter so Municipal Clerk is elected position, not appointed

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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.”

Click here and here to read the ordinance. 

25 COMMENTS

  1. Uhhhhhhh rrrrrriiiiggghht. Yeah that’ll happen. The assembly will definitely work with the mayor on this one.

  2. This is a very good idea. As it is offered by Mayor Bronson, we already know the Assembly majority will vote against it for no good reason. That’s just the way they are; unrepresentative of Anchorage residents. They like it this way.

  3. the assembly wouldn’t allow a vote for mayor! why would they allow this they’re all power hungry ladder climbing progs they will not give up any power

    • Everyone saying they won’t give up power still needs to write their representatives. They can only play god when they don’t hear from the people they represent.

      • Write to your Assembly representative all day long. Call, stop by their office, or even their home.
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        Unless you are telling them that you support their position, they will not hear a damned word you said.

  4. As long as the municipal clerk is beholden to the Assembly majority as it is now, the conduct of Anchorage city elections will be suspect. To have transparently honest and fair elections, the municipal clerk must be neutral and independent from both the Assembly and the Mayor.

  5. I would normally believe that this isn’t necessary, but this assembly has proven that it is because they don’t care about having integrity or honor in the eyes of everyone except those that are part of their tribe of hypocrites, which is precisely the problem. The only issue is that having the clerk be an elected official won’t really solve the problem. Having the city clerk getting into the political ring would make it so he or she is even more invested into one spectrum or the other because that’s what running campaigns does. And that’s the opposite of the goal here. What I would like to see above all is that the city clerk can’t be controlling their own oversight, no matter who it is or how they got there. A crooked city clerk can happen whether appointed or elected. And a crooked or even just a biased city clerk running their own election? I like what Bronson is trying to do, but not so sure about the method. It could be like judges where we have to vote to allow them to stay in their position and we need that election process somehow have oversight that is outside of the municipality or something so it is assuredly independent. And we could just have more defined rules that the city clerk has to abide to so they aren’t showing any kind of bias or influence over the elections. And if the city clerk does show a bias or interference or influence or tampering with independent oversight, anybody should be able to take it to court, whether it be only one assembly member or the mayor or just a group of citizens, but those need to be very well written rules so they aren’t weaponized too. Then the rules are the rules and a judge shouldn’t have much room for interpretation. If the rules are broken, the city clerk is dismissed. He or she can appeal, but the courts should have the right to make sure integrity and justice is upheld. And in my opinion, my strong belief, Barbara Jones needs to be dismissed immediately. She’s, at best, incompetent and unprofessional. And no matter what we do, democracy only works when people have decency and class and the ruling tribes know they shouldn’t have double standards and hypocrisy and should be ashamed and sincerely apologetic when they do. No “I’m sorry you feel that way” bs. Like real humility that shows that somebody learned they made a bad decision that is a real flaw in their ability to lead a thriving community and they have caused real consequences that we should be aiming to avoid.

  6. Bronson and his Save Anchorage Alliance will need to do more work, such as gathering signatures for a referendum to go on the ballot. This is obviously cannon fodder for far right assembly seekers in the April, 2022 election.This far right Republican grass roots effort to take over local assemblies and school boards is occuring nation wide. I do not believe the Anchorage vioters will support politicizing an administrative function.

    • “This far right Republican grass roots effort to take over local assemblies and school boards …”
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      Wrong again, as usual, Frank.
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      To make it make sense, and be truthful, you need to substitute the phrase “This well-justified effort by non-‘woke’, non-radical-Neo-Marxist leftist extremists to insert sanity into local assemblies and school boards …” into your comment instead.

    • What are you babbling? This position has already been politicized. The clerk position needs to be independant of both mayor and assembly. Along with that a clause allowing their position to be terminated at any time for any reason, just as Alaska state labor laws allow for business. It’s high time for public service to be put back in its place, emphasizing the phrase public service. They chose to serve the tax payers, not the tax payers serving them.

    • Frank:
      Please explain where the line is between right and far right in your perspective. Everyone has their own view of the political spectrum, and we are all curious where your dividing lines are drawn.

      • Todays ADN front page story documents the dividing lines. I support documenting every detail of the January 6th insurrection and let the voters decide in the Spring 2022 local elections and November 2022 House and Senate elections who they want representing them.

        • Frank, again with parroting your radical leftist agitprop.
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          The fact is that there was NO so-called “insurrection” on January 6th, 2021. What we did see was a healthy and well-justified protest against systemic tyranny and electoral fraud, and we need much more of such protests. Government should live in fear of the people, not the other way around!

        • Frank:
          I did not ask for the ADN’s dividing line. I asked for your’s.
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          As to the “insurrection.” I am sorry, but I like my insurrections a bit more unruly. When the overwhelming majority of the “insurrectionists” stayed within the velvet ropes, and acted like tourists, it is not exactly an insurrection in my book.

  7. Good start, Mr. Mayor.
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    Recommend including term-limit language:
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    Section 4.05. – Clerk.
    (a) The municipal clerk is elected at-large for a three-year term.
    (a) (1) A Clerk who has served for three consecutive terms shall not be reelected until one full term has intervened.
    .
    Now, what could possibly go wrong when:
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    (1) Assembly members run for re-election, and the Clerk –who works for Assembly members–, tabulates the votes;
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    (2) Assembly members run for re-election, and the Clerk –who works for Assembly members–, has sole authority over who and how many observers get to observe vote-tabulation;
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    (3) the Clerk runs for re-election, and the Clerk tabulates votes for… the Clerk.
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    Shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel… some city where elections don’t seem so easily corruptible oughtta have just the Charter language needed to solve the problem.
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    Of course this won’t get past the very government body who’ve the most to gain from killing it, but we do appreciate your effort, Mr. Mayor.

  8. In the rest of the civilized world, a group that can appoint a Clerk to manage elections that directly benefit themselves is called a Conflict of Interest.

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