Last straw: Anchorage OMB director quits, after Assembly passes illegal budget

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Sharon Lechner

The director of the Anchorage Office of Management and Budget has thrown up her hands and resigned, saying the Anchorage Assembly is undoing all hoped-for progress on the city’s balance sheet.

Sharon Lechner, who was confirmed as OMB director earlier this year, wrote in her resignation letter that during an April 30 special meeting on the budget revisions for the first quarter of the year, the Assembly passed a budget that unwound months of progress for the city. As a CPA, she lives by an ethical code, and the Assembly has been breaking the law.

“Worse, every amendment proposed by the Assembly that reversed important items [such] as additional staff for the Controller Division or parking parity for the employees in City Hall, was passed with unanimous approval,” Lechner wrote.

“Not once during the weeks leading up to the Assembly Meeting did any Assembly member reach out to OMB with questions, even though their budget analyst was brand new in his position,” she wrote to Mayor Dave Bronson.

“Not once did any Assembly member push back when Assembly Member Zaletel spoke about the (annual) labor scrub, saying that the labor scrub eliminates positions. It doesn’t. It never has,” Lechner added.

Lechner, who was Anchorage CFO under two previous mayors, continued in her letter that described the Assembly dysfunction, saying the city had the opportunity to correct a workers compensation problem that started 20 years ago, but the Assembly reversed that as well.

“We have the opportunity to fix the misappropriation of spending at the Golden Lion Hotel, but the Assembly reversed that. We had the opportunity to reduce our fund balance deficit, but the Assembly reversed that,” she said.

Lechner said she would be happy to serve Mayor Bronson in another capacity, but if nothing else is offered to her, she’ll make June 28 her last day.

This week, the Assembly passed an illegal first-quarter budget revision that violated the law by exceeding the tax cap. A special meeting was called on Friday to reverse the illegal actions.

Assembly Chairman Chris Constant, faced with the embarrassment of having passed an illegal budget, attacked the Bronson Administration, which had sent out a press release Thursday about the budget that said the mayor was willing to help solve the problem the Assembly had created.

“In what way did the mayor help?” Constant asked Lechner, who explained to him that it took her division about seven hours to calculate the Assembly’s budget and come to the determination that it had gone over the tax cap. Constant quickly cut her off, as seen in the video above.

34 COMMENTS

  1. She did the only thing she could and keep her professional standing.

    Sometimes you can’t stop bad people from doing bad things, but you can publicly announce you’re not a part of it.

  2. Curious if anyone thinks this was an actual “oopsie”.

    If you do, let me know. I’ve got a bridge from Anchorage to Hope to sell you.

  3. What is she complaining about?
    It’s only more money.
    They can just simply come after the taxpayers for more.
    What’s the problem with that?

    • You must not live here. The point is the taxpayers of Anchorage put a cap on “how much more money” the city government can “come after them” for. It’s interesting that you think residents here are made of money or you are ignorant to the generic term of “taxpayer” referring to YOUR pocket.
      Constant is pissed that they got caught and the mayor announced it to all and sundry, so the “quiet” under the radar fix isn’t happening (or they thought that maybe they could get away with it after all).

        • Unfortunately sarcasm is difficult to discern in the written word especially from a poster I am unfamiliar with. Without a quantifier like “(sarc)”, one can only rely on the comment as written.
          Furthermore considering how many of our younger individuals have no understanding of civics or how our republic is really supposed to work, serious statements like this are sadly not unheard of.

  4. Where is the state AG ?
    Who’s responsible to take them to court?
    If they don’t follow the rules then the public doesn’t have to rather remember no discrimination.

  5. Mark is spot on. But sadly, the Gov. and AG don’t care about this. And neither do the people of Anchorage. This is simply more political porn. And Jimbo, when Anchorage property taxes equal the mortgage lights and heat the little sheep of Anchorage will whimper and bleat…. and pay the Man. In 2024 that is just how it is.

  6. That’s OK, as Suzanne LaFrance is running ads claiming she has / will defend the tax cap. And if you believe that, I have a bridge across the Knik Arm to sell you. Cheers –

  7. Constant is an angry little man with no moral compass. The rest of the A$$embly isn’t any better.

  8. It’s the muni level of the political war being waged worldwide at all political levels. It’s all coming down. The fallout will be a virtual extinction event for those unable to survive without government nurturing and protection. This constitutes a majority of the human population. I believe this November will be the push of the red button, and the detonation event will occur by May of 2025.
    Good luck, folks.

    • Yup.
      When the Good Men are finally pushed over the limit – the barbarity, brutality, and savagery that will be unleashed – will leave the hand wringers and pearl clutches hiding in their basements praying to a God that they denied even existed.

  9. When only 15-20% of the Muni voters show up to vote, what else would you expect. Voters in Anchorage just don’t have a care-or-concern and, it hasn’t gotten bad enough for them to make any meaningful changes. No doubt LeFrance will somehow ‘magically’ get elected (fairly or unfairly), and life will just continue to deteriorate with … higher property taxes, more homelessness, higher city budgets, more crime, dirtier city, unplowed roads, dumber kids, high value and innovative individuals migrating elsewhere, etc. Maybe(?), the best thing for Anchorage is just let it fall HARD, hitting ROCKBOTTOM, crashing into a heap of ASH and FIRE? Then, possibly we rebuild it afterwards, if there’s any potential talent remaining.
    Seems kinda crazy but, it’s the trajectory we’re heading!

  10. Were Assembly members emboldened to defraud voters with an illegal budget because they’ve reason to be confident Anchorage’s election system is corrupted to the point that angry voters can’t do anything about it, or them?
    .
    Last straw to last laugh? One hopes Director Lechner discloses illegal-budget concerns to the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section.
    .
    The Section investigates and prosecutes alleged misconduct of public officials in all three branches of the federal government, as well as state and local public officials.
    (‘https://www.justice.gov/criminal/criminal-pin/about)

    • Says the person who associates themselves with people who don’t know what bathroom they should use.

    • I bet all these imaginary “MAGA” people you have living rent free in your head are just giddy about that! Having them occupy your mind should also keep you out of trouble…win-win!

      All joking aside an explanation is in order here.
      Are you suggesting that people are over-reacting because the assembly broke the law to rob them blind?
      OR
      Are you of the Machiavellian school of “the ends always justify the means” and people should just shut up about the brazen law-breaking, as long as it serves the “correct” agenda of distributing wealth from the evil “MAGA” property owners to the rich Marxists??

  11. Constant, LaFrance and the rest are all communists. Communists do not care about the law or your rights under it. They only care about pressing forward with their agenda and taxing you into oblivion. Anchorage, wake up now or lose your city and your voice. These people have no care for your rights or your needs as a human being. They only care about what their handlers are telling them to do. We need honest elections and common-sense representatives that know what their boundaries are. You absolutely need to keep Bronson as your mayor, or these fools will destroy your life!

  12. Sounds like something right out of the book “Rules for Radicals”. Anchorage is doomed, just like any other blue pest hole city in the U.S. these days. Sadly, this whole situation did not start in the last several years. It started off with these assembly members in middle to high school. Leftist teachers groomed and coddled them. Exhibit A: LaFrance.

  13. The present assembly in Anchorage will bankrupt the City if not voted out. Welcome to the new Seattle.

  14. So did the assembly fix the budget on Friday or not?
    I can’t seem to find any report of the end result of the meeting. Anyone know?

  15. What, she lasted three months? City needs to vett it’s hirings more thoroughly. She obviously had an axe to grind.

    • Such BS, she served under 2 previous administrations with no issues but this assembly is not willing to work with anyone that doesn’t agree with their agenda. She doesn’t work for the assembly yet they seem to think they can break the law and budget anytime they feel like it. When all her work is undone illegally by this ass-embly what else is she supposed to do? You people are destroying this city and don’t even care as long as you get your way.

    • You are obviously incompetent and unable to ever achieve the level of management she fills. ADDITIONALLY she is a CPA which doesn’t mean anything to you.

  16. I am not sure what is wrong with the Anchorage citizens. We shall see if they really care about this city on Mayoral run-off. Having dealt with the Assembly for 2 years, except for the conservatives on there, the rest are incompetent, unlawful, hateful, mean and liars. That includes Suzanne LeFrance. Everyone of the progressives on there then spread lies and hateful rhetoric about me or anyone working for Mayor Bronson. Someone needs to do an audit of all the illegal spending they have done for the last 3 years.
    It is interesting to me how they can actually do what they did to a city employee?
    By the way, if you are a progressive troll about to respond to me don’t bother. I personally could care less of what you think. You are as evil as they are!

    • I agree we definitely need an audit of Assembly spending.

      But shouldn’t the city have an audit of city spending for each year? Where the 2022 or 2023 audit for city hall? Isn’t that something the mayor or his OMB director should cover?

  17. Why we left Anchorage.This assembly has created such a S#IT show of once was a great city.

    No, we are not republicans. We are moderate, non partisans. You know – those people which every polical party wants to win over.

    Have never, ever met such a corrupt group of imbeciles as Christopher Constant & his merry band of imbeciles.

    You sir, are an embarrassment. A complete arrogant embarrassment.

  18. Will the Legal Dept do anything to rein in Mr SPEND US INTO UNENDING DEFICIT SPENDING? I think they should be able to stop the excess flab hanging out.

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