Reversal: Assembly Nine back down and confirm Junior Aumavae as Anchorage’s chief equity officer

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Assemblyman Chris Constant snarked over the phone that it was “a rare political win” for Mayor Dave Bronson, when it became evident that Junior Aumavae had the votes and the support of the room.

The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday night voted unanimously to confirm Aumavae as chief equity officer for the Municipality.

This, after earlier this week the Assembly drafted resolution that would have postponed his confirmation until after the April Anchorage elections and until after a court case relating to the position was settled.

It was unclear what changed the mind of the Assembly’s leftist majority. Many of them were wearing Polynesian leis, which were passed out by members of the Polynesian community on Tuesday night at the regularly scheduled Assembly meeting. The Loussac Library Assembly Chambers were packed with Aumavae supporters, and it may have become clear to some on the Assembly that their very re-elections hung on whether they confirmed the man who has already held the position for five months.

Assemblyman Felix Rivera pointed out that the sudden confirmation of Aumavae came without a confirmation hearing, but the sitting Assembly Chairwoman, Meg Zaletel, allowed the confirmation to proceed, against tradition and precedent. Rules were broken because it was a political decision to break them. Rivera, clearly unhappy to have to go along with the majority, asked that such a confirmation never happen again in that manner.

Assemblywoman Suzanne LaFrance did not rule over the meeting on Tuesday because she has isolated at home with a case of Covid. She called into the meeting, clearly feeling the effects of the virus. Also not attending in person was Assemblyman and Vice Chair Constant, who sounded inebriated, combative, and accusatory on the phone, calling in from Washington, D.C., where he is on a trip to advance his run for Congress. Assemblywomen Jamie Allard and Crystal Kennedy also called into the meeting.

The entire confirmation process took up at least an hour of the Assembly meeting, and Zaletel called for one five-minute break when people would not stop clapping for Aumavae.

The Assembly in 2020 created a position of chief equity officer, and the unelected Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson appointed Clifford Armstrong III just weeks before Bronson took over as mayor. By October, Bronson had fired Armstrong and hired Aumavae. That authority to fire someone on his staff is now being litigated, with the Assembly maintaining the mayor has no right to fire the person appointed to that position.

26 COMMENTS

  1. This is one of the funniest, most entertaining columns I’ve read in a long time. Thank you, Suzanne. Congratulations, Mr. Aumavae, for mobilizing your supporters, anticipating the Assembly’s pea-brained approach that continually serves against the will of the people, common sense and Mayor Bronson. I’m delighted you all overcame the pervasive nonsense of Felix, Meg, inebriated Chris and the rest of these boobs so deliciously. May this success herald a return to more common-sense collaboration (but I doubt it.)

  2. Definitely a win for Bronson, I’m sure this out-of-the-blue confirmation had nothing to do with Aumavae supporters being there, lol. Don’t know if much of the Polynesian community attended but if they did I wouldn’t want to piss off a room of Polynesians also. Even though they are some of the friendliest folks I’ve known.

  3. Congratulations Mr. Aumavae, you are the right oerson for this job.
    The “funny business” of the commie 9 aside, deciding to confirm you was ALWAYS the right thing to do.
    Complain all you want, commie 9, you know you’d have egg on your face for not confirming Mr. Aumavae.

  4. I was there and it was great.
    You would have thought there was a motor on those back paddles! A great guy was confirmed tonight!

  5. Chris Constant says this is a “a rare political win”? The Communists got their Equity Officer position. Wasn’t the guy they wanted, by they still got the positions. Communists start with a radical position. If you take away 50% the radical position still advances 50%. It will be a political win when the position is eliminated.

  6. This is wonderful for our city! I attended the Polynesian celebration months ago with dancing, food and a powerful prayer time for Junior. He is an open book and changes lives through outreach to students and adults.

  7. The Assembly made a HUGE mistake in originally not appointing Mr Aumavae to the position.
    The reversal and appointing this gentleman is the right decision. I sincerely hope that Mr. Aumaae knows that this had nothing to do with him, but to do with the immature selfish, self serving Assembly. These people will do anything including suing the Mayor (spending taxpayers money) to get their own way;
    Pathetic, time for a change in the Assembly members. Hope the Samoan community remembers this and will vote them out.

    • Stop! putting people in groups and boxes! They do it to themselves! but you don’t have to say it like that!
      Time to work together? Bring us together! not apart!

      I get the frustration!

  8. The right thing to do not listening to constant for a change. If a confirmation hearing is what is professionally required interviewing all appointees, then out of respect for him Zaletel should had hosted the hearing since every other appointee is expected to go through a cordial hearing. It would only been equal and fair.

  9. I’m glad they approved him.
    Never mess with the Samoans.
    However….
    There is no real need, anywhere, for an equity officer. It is a false flag position. Dean’s post is correct.

  10. “Vice Chair Constant, who sounded inebriated, combative, and accusatory on the phone, calling in from Washington, D.C.”

    Ha. given his normal behavior, how could anyone tell?

  11. The 9 have to go.
    Notice the number of ads that pop-up for Dunbar, clearly dark-money is at play here.
    They all turned because the Municipal Election is close enough that they think votes can still be earned.
    The time to take Anchorage back is here, get out and vote!
    Remind people, especially the working class, that Their vote can make a difference and this city really needs the change.

  12. Interestingly not a peep in the Anchorage Democrat News. What a difference from the gushing articles about Mr. Armstrong. Makes one wonder if the ADN reporter had the article all written up and now has to re-write and can’t find the appropriate spin??
    Congratulations to Mr. Aumavae!

  13. BEST ASSEMBLY MEETING MOMENT EVER!

    I’m so proud of Junior, and the strong support of the many cultures that make Anchorage great that showed up to support him.

    Now everyone VOTE the 4 OUT!!

  14. There were audible alarming rustling sounds when Constant’s name was called. This staying home business of stipend receivers is an abuse of the publics’ tolerance. I’m glad the acting employee was given a permanent position with benefits as appointed others have been..

  15. I’m happy that a local boy was given his due. Who better to fill that position that shouldn’t be a position than Mr. Aumavae? It’s disgusting, though, that the Progressive 9 tainted the evening for him by even questioning his appointment. They only came around because four of them are up for re-election (Dunbar, Zalatel, Perez-Verdia and Weddleton) otherwise, like sheep, they would have nixed the confirmation. Maybe their oppressive daddy, Chrissy, intimidates them when he’s actually in his seat pulling their strings.

  16. Chris Constant would snark over anything that didn’t deal with his ” I don’t agree with agenda”

    Congrats Mr. Aumavae! You made a change!

  17. While I am happy that the appointment was confirmed for political reasons, I would still like to see the deliverables that come out of this position, regardless of who holds the job. What are the performance measures that will determine if this is an effective use of taxpayer dollars? Absent quantifiable results, this position should sunset in a year or two.

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