Anchorage Assembly overrides mayoral veto on mayoral removal ordinance

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 8:28 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage Assembly voted Monday afternoon to override Mayor Dave Bronson’s veto of a controversial ordinance that establishes a process for the removal of a sitting mayor.

Assembly members gathered and discussed comments and concerns about the ordinance recently passed by the assembly that establishes a process for the removal of a sitting mayor on 12 distinct actions that would qualify as a breach of public trust.

The assembly members ultimately voted 9-3 in favor of the veto override. Assembly Vice Chair Chris Constant originally introduced this ordinance back in May. Since then, Mayor Bronson has been strongly against it, calling it a “blatant attack on the office of the Mayor.”

“This ordinance is not intended to be implemented,” Constant said. “It is intended to be on the books should the need arise.”

In recent months, multiple assembly meetings were held to discuss the details of the ordinance. The assembly approved it with a 9-3 vote last month.

However, there’s still some concern over the details of the legislation. Within the ordinance, a procedure has been established that if there was a vacancy in the mayor’s office, the assembly chair will be the acting mayor until a special election can be held. Assembly member Kevin Cross said he believes this may cause disruption.

“If it was the voters and it was predetermined, or we put this off until we had a position like a lieutenant mayor, or a vice mayor, whatever that looks like, I’d be way more on board,” Cross said. “But, I see a direct conflict of interest that the people who remove him are the people who can stick their own person in there, and I don’t think that’s right.”

Mayor Dave Bronson released a statement on the passage of the veto override for AO 2022-60(S).

“This ordinance will create discord and distrust amongst the public,” Bronson wrote, in part. “The actions in this ordinance will set a precedent that will forever change how municipal government is administered. This ordinance is clearly a partisan effort to attack the executive branch because this assembly doesn’t agree with my administration’s policies.”

Moving forward, supporter argue that this ordinance will officially enact safeguards to ensure elected officials are held accountable, which may also include other elected officials such as assembly members and school board members.

“I’m not happy, I hate that we are here,” Constant said. “I look forward to a day when harmony returns between the branches of government where we fight over ideas and not over control because we have co-equal branches of government here.”

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