At a Special Meeting this evening, the Anchorage Assembly entered Executive Session to consult legal counsel regarding the scope of legislative power to respond to the allegations detailed in a letter from former Municipal Manager Amy Demboski in her wrongful termination claim against Mayor Bronson. At the conclusion of executive session, the Assembly returned to the Assembly Chambers and Assembly Member Meg Zaletel laid a package of legislation on the table for introduction, including three unnumbered Emergency Ordinances (EO) to safeguard the municipality and address the current crises that threatens the functionality of Boards & Commissions, the authority of the Office of the Ombudsman and the stewardship of Municipal finances.
“The letter from former Municipal Manager Demboski is now in the public record," said
Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance. “The statement contains very serious allegations of mismanagement of municipal resources, so Assembly leadership is taking steps to protect those resources. We are focused on good governance and intend to strengthen the code."
Proposed Emergency Ordinances
As proposed, the
EO on Boards and Commissions addresses the inability of some boards and commissions to meet quorum by extending the membership for those members whose term expired October 14, 2022 and have not yet been replaced by an additional 60 days to April 12, 2023 or until a new appointment is confirmed to a member's designated seat, whichever occurs first.
EO regarding the Office of the Ombudsman proposes to clarify the authority of the office to investigate personnel matters within the Municipality.
EO regarding contract oversight and reporting lowers the monetary thresholds for contracts to be approved by the Assembly and requires more detailed reporting of contracts and spending of municipal resources.
If approved, each EO would be effective for 60 days.
About Executive Session
Prior to introducing the ordinances, the Assembly entered executive session to be briefed by Assembly Counsel on the Municipality's potential exposure and to discuss what actions could be taken to protect and safeguard the Municipality's interests. During executive session, per
Anchorage Municipal Code 2.30.036, members of the public were excluded and no official action was taken. Although the Mayor was not present, the Assembly voted unanimously to determine Mayor Bronson to have a substantial conflict of interest in the matter, which prohibited his participation in the executive session.
Although the public is excluded from executive sessions,
AMC 2.30.036.C establishes that the session must be electronically recorded and may be released by a vote of the Assembly. After the executive session concluded, the Assembly voted to keep the recording confidential until such time as all potential claims as could arise expire.
“At the executive session, we asked Assembly Counsel what actions the Assembly can or cannot take to address the current crisis," said
Assembly Vice Chair Christopher Constant. “The public will see the fruit of those conversations in public meetings as early as tomorrow."
The items will be considered by the Assembly at a
Special Meeting with Executive Session tomorrow, Friday, January 20, 2023 from 3-5PM at City Hall, Suite 155.
Suzanne LaFrance | Assembly Chair,
Christopher Constant | Assembly Vice Chair,