Mayor’s Office says deputy chief of staff ‘no longer working’ for him, but there’s another side of story

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Mayor Dave Bronson’s office issued a statement Friday afternoon saying Brice Wilbanks, his former 23-year-old deputy chief of staff, is no longer employed with the municipality of Anchorage. Wilbanks was Bronson’s campaign manager during his run for office in 2021, and was one of his closest allies until a few days ago.

“Mr. Wilbanks is no longer employed. Mayor Bronson takes these allegations very serious and does not condone what has been alleged. Which is why in order to avoid any potential conflict it has been referred to the Alaska Department of Law. The Mayor remains committed to working on behalf of the nearly 300,000 people of Anchorage,” the statement from the Mayor’s Office said.

The “these allegation” portion seems to refer, without saying so precisely, to statements made by the city’s Ombudsman Darrel Hess, who has accused someone — an unnamed person — of reviewing security videos to find out who had been entering the Ombudsman’s office, where whistleblower complaints are taken.

Former Municipal Manager Amy Demboski is one person who had gone into the Ombudsman’s Office as she was building a case against people in the Bronson Administration concerning improper contracts. If Wilbanks had been reviewing security tapes, he may have been within his right as deputy chief of staff to do so. Cameras at City Hall do not point exactly to the door of the Ombudsman’s Office. But this would become a matter contested in court — whether those tapes were being used to intimidate employees from being whistleblowers.

Hess has referred his concerns to the city prosecutor, who has subsequently referred the case to the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office (State Department of Law) for possible legal action for what Hess describes as a “breach of duty, misconduct, or illegal activity by Municipal personnel.”

At this point, the allegations all go one way, with Wilbanks having to fend for himself legally. Wilbanks is not speaking to the media about the dust-up but his attorneys have sent a letter saying that Hess acted inappropriately and that Wilbanks was denied due process. Wilbanks’ attorneys, Phil Weidner and Lisa Rosano, are asking that he be reinstated and put on administrative leave.

What is unclear is how Wilbanks’ name was released to the mainstream media and bloggers, which are generally using all forces available to run a campaign against the mayor. Since the Ombudsman did not name Wilbanks directly in his memo, the information spilled out in some other way, which may also become actionable in court, since it is a personnel matter.

It appears that Wilbanks may be joining former Municipal Manager Amy Demboski in a wrongful discharge action against Bronson, if only to restore his reputation.

30 COMMENTS

  1. What’s really disappointing in this whole mess in Bronson should have been much, much smarter. Dealing with vipers, all it takes is one bite.

    He defeated the lefts hand picked choice in a very close election. The Politburo made it clear they would obstruct him at every turn. They made rules specifically to put him out of office.

    The left, bring the left, never ever stops. They were gonna probe every crack in his administration until they found something to bring him down.

    It was incumbent on Bronson to surround himself with the best possible people he could. People (as far as one can with politicians) of good character and temperament.

    More and more it seems he didn’t. Now the Politburo has what it wanted since election night. The means to neuter him and bring him down.

    • Or MA, your constant boogeyman the Left has nothing to do with it. Fact is, Bronson is incompetent, deceitful and unqualified. It’s all on him.

  2. I think it may be a bit premature to suggest that Wilbanks may be joining Demboski in a wrongful discharge case against Bronson. He is a very bright person to whom the mayor has showed great respect. Let’s see what becomes of the matter before jumping to conclusions. Wilbanks’ Atty, Weidner should be a concern however. He is well known to be a fighter and not easy to shake. If he goes after the mayor it could get ugly. I’m hoping that Wilbanks is reasonable and can walk back his resignation.

  3. We all feel “It’s our city”. Actual taxpayers believe that is the case. The temporary public servants do not rule. They are not kinged. The Mayor executes the peoples’ stated will. The stated will he gets through: direct votes, two way communication however it is achieved. The corporate stipend receivers at the assembly servant level write corporate bylaws they themselves must obey. The “charter” may not deviate from the US Corporation in anyway or whatever imaginative deviation appears is void for effect from inception. The stipends are attached to an temporarily held emolument. Each must do his emolument only or the stipend receiver is trespassing into someone else’s emolument. WE are not authorized to pay someone money to do someone else’s emolument/job. It is illegal, criminal to do that regardless of feminine well modulated tones constantly to the contrary. Also, usurping someone else’s authority is a criminal trespass even if you believe perhaps presumptuously that you would obviously be the better executive. Anchorage toleration heretofore of deformations of the municipality former functions has created what is seen and explicated for us today. Do ONLY your temporary emolument.

    • G. Aluetian, no disrespect intended here, but virtually every one of your posts on MRAK leaves me baffled. It’s like you are posting from a reality that is tangent to the one everyone else here inhabits. I don’t know if you realize that your comments usually come across that way; at least they do to me.

      • I look at things from a Christian-trained conscience. ALL democrats reject all Christian filters. There is an entrenched racial stereotype socially widespread in Alaska of an archetype in AK I inhabit. I post so that when people think they know what someone “like me” is going to say they find that “not so much are we predictable”. Also you are a man younger than I. I have my own always unpleasant gender race experience(s) that may “clash” with your truths. You aren’t the only one in this world who has been an excellent student. I believe strongly that Jesus Christ is who he claims to be. I am not part of deceived humanity or ambiguous in my beliefs. I am sardonic sometimes but somewhat exacting. I’m not easily mislead due to over seven decades of Bible study. I am who I say I am also not who my detractors say I am. Some of my heritages (island, insular, happy with small social networks) allow me to be atypical of other Alaskan social castes and cultures. Everyone is inefficient in stereotyping me quickly. That is the exact reason I post. You don’t know me yet I am slightly, barely existent though unwelcome in contemporary Anchorage. I am issues oriented.

        • A. Galeutian (and sorry for mistyping your name there earlier; it was not intentional), thank you for your response here. I can appreciate your background and life in an isolated part of Alaska, far from the urban hustle and chaos of Anchorage or other cities, and your strong Christian heritage and beliefs. I am just often left confused by the meanings of many of your posts. Perhaps the fault is on my end.

      • No, Mark Begich (mostly) competently did the things he meant to do; it is just that some of us disagreed on doing those things.

    • That comment you made Frank depends on the eyes you are looking through. Been here 46 years and never seen a more contentious, left wing, assembly who works for their own pockets and not for We the People. All they are interested in is Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.They will never get over their Dunbar wasn’t elected Mayor and will never be satisfied until they get rid of Mayor Bronson .

      • I’ll bet you 100 dollars that Dunbar would not have tolerated a serial abuser to hang around the Eighth floor, nor would he have allowed cookies in the form of male genitalia at the office Xmas party.

        What that tells me, in spite of his military credentials, is that David Bronson is not fit to lead this city.

        Choose Respect, much ?

        • I’ll take that bet. You honestly think that Dunbar, Constant and Rivera would be adverse to phallic symbols being tossed into each others agape pie holes in a “closed” office party setting? You don’t read much about the “pride” lifestyle and sense of humor do you? Some patriot.

    • Let me guess. You have the same outlook on President Trump too. Is it safe to assume?
      Any Partisan overtones whatsoever?
      At least he keeps his pants on.

  4. Was Amy’s discharge due to Willibanks reviewing surveillance footage of her entering the Ombudsman office? If so then it would be ironic to have him join in her suit of wrongful discharge!

  5. Brice Wilbanks–a 23-year-old deputy chief of staff! Ah, he is young enough to take a political hit for Bronson. But I’m sorry he is no longer employed with the municipality: we’ll never know what else he could do beside being used as a watchman for the man.

    Bronson is definitely a mental klutz, but he might do well operating a string of dirty, dilapidated lemonade stands!

  6. Roberts Rules does not begin a deliberative group action as is recommended by Mason’s Manual adopted by the state of Alaska as the rulebook attempting to secure constitutional, legal group behavior. Mason’s Manual urges the group to check first if they even have expressed, delegated authority to take a certain action. The US Constitution LIMITS legislative bodies expressly and does not empower tampering with process which is due.

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