North Pole mayor, running for House, relieved of duties by unanimous city council vote

North Pole City Council meeting on June 17, 2024

The North Pole City Council voted to relieve Mayor Mike Welch of his duties. The vote came after an executive session that occurred Monday, after complaints and revelations about poor management at the city.

Mayor Pro Tem Chandra Clack has moved to the mayor’s seat after the unanimous decision, which included Welch himself voting in favor of the motion. The next election for mayor comes in October, and Clack will serve until then unless other developments occur.

Welch had serious health conditions involving a concussion last year that forced him to take medical leave for several months, but he returned to work in April. The structure of the mayor’s office in North Pole is that the mayor runs the city’s day-to-day operations, and numerous complaints have arisen during his tenure involving procurement irregularities and access that his wife had to what are described as secure areas of city offices. He said his memory was shaky on aspects of those procurement irregularities. Some of the other issues the council was worried about were discussed in the meeting, the video of which is below:

Welch moved to North Pole in 1999 and was elected to the city council in 2005, and elected in 2008. In 2018, he was elected mayor and he was reelected in 2021. Welch filed this spring to run against House Rep. Mike Prax. Both are members of the Republican Party.

Chandra Cleck was born in Fairbanks before statehood and has been active in the Fairbanks and North Pole communities, serving on the board of Golden Valley Electric Association, running her own daycare center, and working as a substitute teacher. She is also involved with a pregnancy center devoted to saving unborn lives.


  1. Rumblings & shakings thunder & quakes GOD is tired of being mocked by oath breakers. the mark of the beast in the Bible is what is in our heads. Stuck on stupid cry babies full of anger evil that is the mark evil deeds. Trying to solve issues & do the best right things for we the people that is oath integrity of GOD so help you GOD. GOOD OR EVIL WE MAKE OUR BEDS OATH TAKERS. MAGA

  2. North Pole has seen a steady stream of controversies at City Hall for decades, going back at least to the days of Carleta Lewis. In recent history, it’s centered on eschewing a professional administrator in favor of a strong mayor. Multiple mayors have been criticized for having day jobs and coming in to conduct city business during the late afternoon and early evening. I spent quite a bit of time talking to Mike Welch during 2018. He repeatedly mentioned how this was problematic and how being retired would be beneficial to the city.


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