Liberal Anchorage Assembly finds it tough to accept mayor's board appointees - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, January 17, 2022
HomePoliticsLiberal Anchorage Assembly finds it tough to accept mayor’s board appointees

Liberal Anchorage Assembly finds it tough to accept mayor’s board appointees

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A special meeting of the Anchorage Assembly on Thursday revealed a legislative body having a lot of trouble with the fact that it does not control the Mayor’s Office any longer, and that the new mayor is making appointments to volunteer portions of the government — boards and commissions. The closed online meeting was spent dissecting Mayor Dave Bronson’s many appointments to boards and commissions.

Dozens of boards and commissions slots were left vacant during the “nothing to report” Mayor Berkowitz era, when former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz left the vacancies unfilled. As it turns out, dozens of people had been serving in official capacity on boards without the authority to do so. Some boards, such as the Military and Veterans Affairs Commission, were completely vacant.

For example, Pat Abney has been on the election board since 2018, and the leftist Assembly majority is visibly upset that Abney’s name is not being renominated by Bronson, after her term expired in October. Instead, the mayor is appointing a male to the all-woman commission.

Abney is a partisan Democrat, and a former candidate for the Alaska State House of Representatives in 2002 and 2006. She was a member of the Assembly from 1991-2001. Instead of Abney.

That change upset the Assembly majority, which had prepared several detailed questions for the Bronson Administration about the process used to determine who would be a good fit for a board or commission. The Assembly has gone so far as to request to see the resumes of all the nominees and the majority members are indicating they don’t think the mayor has appointed qualified people.

View all the boards and commissions expired and vacant seats here.

View current appointments to fill vacancies here:

Municipal Manager Amy Demboski provided answers to the Assembly, as they grilled her over the qualifications of the nominees.

What outreach and advertising was done to recruit the new appointees? Was the outreach done in a way that ensures broad community representation on the Boards and Commissions (several have specific requirements to meet geographic and demographic diversity)? 

Demboski replied that all residents had the opportunity to apply via OnBoard, a software that the municipality uses. Outreach was conducted through the muni website, social media, transition team, and community councils. Staff reviewed appointments with board diversity in mind.

There are 29 people whose terms expired in October 2021 who were not reappointed. How many of those submitted applications or indicated to their board/commission that they intended to serve out a new term? Can the Assembly have access to these applications? Were all existing members adequately informed that they would need to reapply for their positions (the past practice was to reappoint without a new application)? 

Demboski replied that it has not been the practice of the executive branch to advance resumes of people not nominated. Instead, Bronson notified members who were not reappointed. “We are continuing the process to send out letters to thank those members not reappointed for their service,” she said.

Several Boards and Commission have very specific requirements outlined in municipal code for who fills each seat, and sometimes technical requirements for appointees. Do the new appointments maintain these requirements? Can the Administration note on the AMs which seat each appointee is filling similar to how it is shown in the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery Advisory Commission section on OnBoard: https://onboard.muni.org/board/2868.

Demboski replied that this was done in some cases, but not all. While this has not always been done in the past, now that the OnBoard system is set up, she said it would be a good practice for the Municipality to maintain. Applications were first received via OnBoard, then filtered by the board/commission in which the applicant expressed an interest.

Next, applicants were evaluated against code requirements to serve on a particular board/commission; then, boards/commissions were evaluated for vacancies and expiring (or expired) seats.

Finally, the Mayor selected the appointees from the eligible applicants who had made it through the review process. Thank you for the recommendation to mimic the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery Advisory Commission section on OnBoard; we are happy to consider this recommendation as we move forward.

There were 23 people who expired prior to 2021, but according to OnBoard, that person was still serving (perhaps unaware that they had expired).

Some of these were reappointed, but some were listed on the Administration’s appointment documents as Vacant and new appointees were put forward. Of those, how many were still actively participating in 2021? How many reapplied for their seats? How did the Administration determine which Members to reappoint and which ones to replace?

Demboski replied that when the Bronson Administration took over, they found the information about who was actively participating in their board or commission was not recorded in a manner to easily track. Some people serving a previous administration were not in compliance with code (because terms had long been expired, or in one instance the reappointment was not put forward to the Assembly, but the person continued to serve in an official capacity).

“The appointments for boards and commissions are solely at the discretion of the Mayor; this process is exclusively a function of the executive branch,” Demboski said.

The staggering is off for the Election Commission. Would the Administration be willing to readjust the new appointment for Seat 4 for one year to expire in 2022, to bring the Commission back into alignment with the code to have staggered terms? 

Demboski replied that the the administration is reviewing all board and commission terms for legal alignment with the member’s terms.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Why would they let the tail wag the dog?

    • It’s odd that the assembly doesn’t believe other people, their neighbors and constituents, have anything worthwhile to volunteer to the community. I believe the assembly are appearing to be increasingly unbalanced. There are others in the community with fine personal characteristics who want to do their best for the community. So looking forward to this natural, refreshing turnover. Thank you for the information. I hope the judiciary can see what is happening. The service to Anchorage is being stunted by these terribly retentive people.

  • These assembly members need to look back at last Tuesdays (11/4/21) as elections across the US – got rid of the ultra liberal members on school boards, city councils, and city & borough assemblies; these liberal losers were ejected so fast it was as if they were crashing in an F-22.

    Kameron Perez-Verdia, Meg Zaletel, Forrest Dunbar, John Weddleton, the 2022 election for your seats cannot come fast enough. Count your days, because they are limited on the Anchorage Assembly.

    Sadly however all the liberal wackos on the assembly will continue to destroy our city until your elected out of here! They will continue to fight with the Mayor over the most minute issue and NOTHING absolutely NOTHING will be accomplished until they are gone!!! Such a waste of the taxpayers time and money.

  • Are all these paid positions?

  • If Mayor Bronson cannot bring these outlaws to heel, I would think the Governor and state attorney general should handle it. The notion these criminals can just violate the law at will is preposterous. Please call the Gov, and your reps.

  • I needed some humor this evening… They’re worried about how many cemetery board members have expired? Does the cemetery board have anything to do with the cemetery vote? Are the members bored? Are the Assembly members expired? The possibilities are nearly endless (not expired…).

  • WE have way to many of these almost meaningless boards and commissions and at least 50% of them should be disbanded and closed out….

  • Of course they find it difficult.. They have no intention of working WITH the mayor, just against him.

  • That’s OKAY, the liberal assembly members are qualified either!!

  • The 49th State Angel fund is allocating money based soley on race, just like Oregon did and is now being sued in the Supreme Court. The previous members of that board were well aware and marched ahead anyway, law be damned. Same with the Planning and Zoning Committee’s handling of the B3 text amendment.

  • This assembly 9 is why I’ve been driving all the way to Sutton to fill my gas tank plus a couple gas cans, for over two years. I’ve bought several sets of either ZR rated, and/or studded winter tires for my Challengers, (that’s plural Challengers) from Cork’s Automotive, in Palmer. Last set, bought just last week, cost $1280.00. My friends and I have dinner at Hacienda Mexican restaurant in Wasilla. Best Spanish rice and re-fried beans ever. I bought over $75,000 in retail inventory (mostly knives and stun guns) from a Huston based source. You can find me at the JBER PX and at events around the area. From other comments, I’m not the only one that has taking most of their business to the valley. Wasilla, Palmer, Sutton, and Huston certainly appreciate the Anchorage 9. Their restaurants especially have apparently had better than expected years recently.

  • If Mayor Bronson had nominated Forrest Dunbar for a position in the administration, the Assembly would reject it.

  • I have lived here for over 45 years and have Never seen such a group of immature, self serving assembly member (except for a few)Dunbar and his posse will never get over the fact that we voted him out as Mayor. Wake Up Anchorage”: Vote for people who will be FOR the People. If we only knew how much of our tax payers money was spent foolishly, we would all vote to get them OUT. My message to those like Constant” Get over yourself.

  • OATH INTEGRITY please step forward, you’re much indeed. So help me GOD. For the people of the people by the people.

  • So here is the scheme from these clowns. They saw it work in 2016 in DC so they are using the playbook here.
    Lie , fabricate, harass incessantly about everything.
    When appointees get tired of it and go back to the real world, then accuse the administration of disfunction and ineptitude.
    Call the corrupt liberal press and encourage them to do a story or multiple stories on it. The Anchorage DIMOCRAP News did it yesterday.
    They are going to keep doing it, violating the charter, violating the principle of separation of powers , violating the basic tenants of good faith and fair dealing. They don’t care how much of your money they spend. They don’t care about the citizens of Anchorage. It’s a game to.these bastards and they won’t quit. The idea is to provoke and possibly recall the mayor on some TRUMPed up charges. Mrs. Billy Clinton would be proud.

    • So you see it again today, (just as I predicted ) the ADN “Our View” : They deride the mayor after supporting the clowns that put roadblocks in front of everything he attempts. They do everything they can to make him fail and then blame him for perceived failures. Marxist playbook. Meanwhile the media’s darling, the previous elected mayor was emailing naked pictures to women from City Hall and the ADN reluctantly and belatedly barely covered it.

  • I ‘d be happy to have fresh faces in there. I don’t want anymore of the assembly hate inspired service.

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