Mayor Bronson named Uluao “Junior” Aumavae as Chief Equity Officer of Anchorage in October, and the Samoan community is preparing to celebrate in Samoan style.
On Friday evening from 6-8 pm in the Wilda Marston Theater at the Loussac Library, the Samoan community is inviting Anchorage to come and celebrate what they view as history in the making. Traditional dancing, food, and festivities are planned to fete Aumavae for breaking through that glass ceiling and becoming a key adviser to the mayor on matters of fairness. Aumavae is the highest-appointed Samoan in Anchorage’s history.
The chief equity officer position is set by an ordinance signed by former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. According to the ordinance, the chief equity officer cannot be fired without the consent of the Assembly. But Mayor Dave Bronson has asserted that that is a power-grabbing overreach by the Assembly, and he fired the equity officer who had been hired by former acting mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson, just before she had to hand over the keys to the city to Bronson.
That man, Clifford Armstrong, is suing, asking for damages that include back pay and attorneys’ fees.
The Assembly leftist majority of nine does not recognize Aumavae as the legitimate chief equity officer,
yet his confirmation vote is set for next Tuesday’s Assembly meeting. The majority says it still recognizes Clifford Armstrong of Tacoma as the actual equity officer, and is setting up a lawsuit against the mayor over his firing of his senior adviser without the Assembly’s permission. The Assembly has appropriated $50,000 for its legal fees to litigate the case. It seems unlikely the Assembly majority will attend the celebratory event, as they view Aumavae as illegitimate.