Anchorage Assembly to discuss reorganization, next steps of filling mayor’s seat

The Anchorage Assembly meets in its chambers at the Loussac Library on Aug. 27, 2020.
The Anchorage Assembly meets in its chambers at the Loussac Library on Aug. 27, 2020.(KTUU)
Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 4:08 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage Assembly will hold a special meeting on Friday to discuss whether or not to reorganize, after a motion to do so failed at Tuesday night’s regularly scheduled meeting.

According to Anchorage’s Municipal Charter, a vacancy in the mayor’s seat must be filled, if it occurs more than 90 days from the next municipal election.

The election day is 174 days away.

Discussions regarding a potential reorganization of the assembly stems from the language in section 7.02.C of the municipal code:

“A vacancy in the office of mayor shall be filled at a regular or special election held not less than 90 days from the time the vacancy occurs. If less than 90 days remain in the term when the vacancy occurs, the vacancy shall not be filled. When a vacancy occurs in the office of mayor, the chair of the assembly shall serve as acting mayor until a successor is elected and takes office. The acting mayor has the veto power, but may not vote on assembly action. The assembly by ordinance shall provide for further succession to the office of acting mayor.”

7.02.C of Municipal Code

Tuesday’s motion from assembly member Jamie Allard came minutes after the resignation of Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz was announced. Berkowitz will be stepping down from office on Oct. 23.

“Frankly, we weren’t ready to take that vote,” assembly Chair Felix Rivera told Alaska’s News Source on Wednesday. “We had just learned this information and we were all processing it.”

Questions are also being raised over whether the ordinance in question demands that a special election must be held after the temporary fill-in is selected. In that instance, Anchorage residents would see three different administrations take the same office within a matter of months.

Alaska’s New Source has reached out to municipal officials to request clarification on the process from Municipal Attorney Kate Vogel. She was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

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