The Anchorage Assembly has scheduled a work session on Tuesday, Aug. 3 to continue the confirmation hearings for some of Mayor Dave Bronson’s department head nominees.
The session is scheduled from 10 am to 1 pm, and it’s clear that the liberal Assembly is saving the last person, to dedicate an hour for David Morgan, which the majority of the Assembly has zeroed in on, with an eye for turning down the nomination. They’ve allowed one half hour for all other hearings, but a full hour for Morgan.
The Assembly moved up Morgan’s hearing; it was originally scheduled for late August. He is the first appointee to have an hour set aside for him.
The hearings can be observed on YouTube at the following times and links:
|Adam Trombley as Director of Office of Economic & Community||8/3/2021 10 AM||View on YouTube|
|Saxton Shearer as Director of Maintenance||8/3/2021 10:30 AM||View on YouTube|
|Lance Wilber as Director of Public Works||8/3/2021 11 AM||View on YouTube|
|Christina Hendrickson as Director of Real Estate||8/3/2021 11:30 AM||View on YouTube|
|David Morgan as Director of Health Department||8/3/2021 12 PM||View on YouTube|
Vice Chair of the Assembly Chris Constant has been quoted saying he is concerned about remarks Morgan has made about the Covid-19 pandemic.
Morgan, on a television news show, said, “Pandemic is an adjective that describes a situation.”
Morgan later clarified that, “I was concentrating on the concept of an emergency and, because we were talking about policy stuff. It is, it is a pandemic, if you’re unvaccinated. I will, I feel that way — my understanding of my experience in health care. If you’re unvaccinated … you are in a pandemic.”
Those are the words also used by President Joe Biden last month, when he said, “Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated.”
Morgan has a vast resume of managing health bureaucracies, such as Native health organizations; he has also served as a consultant nationally to governments. He worked at Southcentral Foundation for decades. He was a founder of the Alaska Center for Sustainable Healthcare Spending and Policy, which opposed Medicaid expansion in Alaska during the Walker Administration.
The most recent Health Department director, hired by former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz last August, had served as the executive director for Boys and Girls Club in Anchorage. Heather Harris slipped into that job without a single question from the media about her qualifications and had been advising the mayor (and then interim Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson, after Berkowitz’ hasty and embarrassing departure in October), and the Anchorage School District on matters relating to business openings and closures, schools, masks, distancing, testing, and more. Although she had no background, she was excellent at repeating the CDC advisories as they came down.
Harris took over the health department in the middle of the pandemic after the previous director quit.
It appears Morgan was placed last in the hearing queue so the Assembly can wear him out, go over time, and give Morgan a chance to say something they don’t like that can give the Assembly an excuse to not vote for him at their regular meeting next week.