Numerous members of the public testified on Tuesday that they were shocked to hear Assembly Chairman Felix Rivera dress down Chugiak/Eagle River Assemblywoman Jamie Allard during last Wednesday’s meeting. Allard had asked a question about the crisis on the southern border.
The word “bully” was used to describe Rivera by several people who attended the meeting. One woman said she remembered what it was like to be bullied as a child, and she instantly recognized Rivera bullying Allard.
But when it came the for the Assembly members to address the incident, only Assemblywoman Crystal Kennedy defended Allard and spoke against the bullying.
Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel said that Allard was not enough like her predecessor Fred Dyson. Dyson was nice, Zaletel said. He worked with them. Since Allard joined the Assembly last April, the Assembly has not been able to get along well.
Assemblyman Chris Constant said that if Allard didn’t like what Rivera was saying, she should have been more effective in stopping him through a procedure, such as a point of order. He said she erred in how she called for a point of order.
Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar agreed with Constant, as did Kameron Perez-Verdia; Suzanne LaFrance said she was not ready to remove Rivera as chair. He’s organized, she said.
Jamilia George, a member of the public, characterized Rivera differently:
“I am deeply disappointed, Mr. Rivera, by your actions of last week. I have more than a passing acquaintance with Roberts Rules of Order. By what rule did you cut off the mic of a duly elected sitting Assembly member?”
Rivera would not respond.
“When you cut off someone’s mic, they can’t call a point of order. I’m disappointed in you. I expected better of you,” she said. “I don’t think you respect the fellow Assembly members and I know you don’t respect the citizens.”