Anchorage Assembly Chairwoman Suzanne LaFrance is proposing that the Assembly hire outside legal counsel to fight Mayor Dave Bronson on issues relating to separation of powers.
She will introduce a memorandum at the Oct. 12 meeting to spend $50,000 of taxpayer dollars to hire Birch Horton Bittner & Cherot to provide legal counsel to the Assembly regarding how “the new Mayor’s Administration organizes and implements operations, administrative and policy changes.”
LaFrance said in the memorandum the Assembly will vote on that “Members of the Administration have exacerbated some disputes over legislative and executive branch functions and authority.”
The contract with BHBC must be approved by the Assembly.
In recent weeks, the Assembly has attempted to subvert the authority of the mayor. It is considering an ordinance that would block the executive branch’s ability to oversee “overall municipal administrative policy, public safety, and operations” of the city, as provided by the Municipal charter.
In AO 2021-90, the Assembly majority seeks to take control of its own meeting space, which is currently governed by the Mayor’s Office. The Assembly majority wants to limit the members of the public that are allowed in the room, and force them to wear masks, but first must pass an ordinance giving itself that authority.
In another ordinance the majority is considering, AO 2021-92, the Assembly seeks to force the mayor to submit his appointees for confirmation immediately, so they may not remain in an acting position for several weeks before being confirmed or voted down.
At a recent meeting, a member of the Mayor’s staff removed the Plexiglas barricade that the Assembly has forced the public to stand behind when they speak to their representatives.
In previous meeting, Chairwoman LaFrance attempted to force Mayor Dave Bronson to sit in a seat not guarded by bulletproof lining, as the rest of the Assembly would continue to have, and she placed the nameplate of Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar in the mayor’s traditional spot. Dunbar lost to Bronson in the April election and May runoff.
Recent meetings have been filled with opposition to the Assembly majority and LaFrance has lost control of the meetings.
Tonight’s meeting may be hectic, as several groups associated with Black Lives Matter and other Anchorage socialist organizations have organized to attend and protest against what they see as “hate” among those who are objecting to the universal mask law, which the Assembly is likely to pass tonight on an emergency vote.
The emergence of the groups supporting the mask law have has shown up on social media, where they are organizing a confrontation and plan to be at the Loussac Library by 4:30 pm, as the meeting starts at 5 pm.