By ANCHORAGE DAILY PLANET
It is interesting that the city’s new $115,000-per-year equity officer, heading up the wholly unnecessary Office of Equity and Justice and put on the payroll by the city’s recent appointed mayor, cannot be fired or laid off without the Assembly’s consent.
Clifford Armstrong III, late of Tacoma, Wash., was that city’s equity in contracting and workforce development program manager before he was hired for a four-year term in Anchorage.
An ordinance to form the office, and submitted by former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, was aimed, hizzonor said, at moving the city toward “becoming a more welcoming and inclusive community.”
Berkowitz resigned later in disgrace during a scandal involving a local news reporter. The ordinance won Assembly approval. It created the Office of Equity and Justice and set its $180,000 a year budget. Armstrong then was hired by Assembly-appointed, placeholder Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson.
The office, mind you, was swaddled in bureaucratic gibberish from Day One, with its creating ordinance including a farcical laundry list of duties. For instance, the chief equity officer would “establish baseline equity data targets/benchmarks in collaboration with partners and establish goals and initiatives to make progress and processes to track outcomes” and “develop methods to determine how disparate impacts will be documented and evaluated” and “collect, evaluate, and analyze indicators and progress benchmarks related to addressing systemic disparities.”
Holy cow! Nothing like analyzing indicators, establishing baselines and tracking outcomes to get a city on the right track. Kick in some disparate impacts, documented whatzits and evaluated howzits and you really have something, we suppose.
Creation of the office was little more than a bad joke, a nifty way for the Left to push its agenda with government blessing and at taxpayers’ expense. Anchorage already has the Office of Equal Opportunity, the Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, the Ombudsman Office and the Resiliency Subcabinet. (Whatever the heck that might be.) Oh, and and then there is the Alaska State Human Rights Commission and private nonprofit organizations such as the Alaska Institute for Justice. We’ve already got equity and justice up to our ears.
Along with a lot of other malarkey, one of the many things in the ordinance that caught our eye was this: “The office of equity and justice shall have such assistants and employees as are necessary to perform all required duties.”
“As necessary?” How long will it be before the office does what bureaucratic offices do? It will grow, become more entrenched, more costly and more intrusive.
We will wind up paying a bunch for something else we do not need. We can thank our Left-leaning Assembly.