Mayor Bronson says conflicts with the Anchorage Assembly are to be expected
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Since taking office in July of 2021, Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson and the Anchorage Assembly have clashed over a variety of issues, but the mayor says his often-rocky relationship with the assembly isn’t affecting the bedrock of city business.
“We’re agreeing on 70,80% of things, we’re fixing potholes, we’re plowing streets, we’re running departments,” Bronson said in an interview.
An obvious obstacle the mayor himself concedes is that Bronson is a conservative, while the majority of Anchorage Assembly members tend to be more liberal.
“There is a conflict, it’s a clash of world views,” Bronson said. “Again, we need to run the city through the executive staff and that’s what we’re going to do, and they keep trying to take that.”
It’s become a power struggle. The mayor believes the city charter gives him lone authority to govern, and assembly members frequently disagree.
“He can’t seem to break himself of this belief that he is the solitary leader of the municipality, that he is the king,” said Anchorage Assembly Vice-Chair Chris Constant. “He is not a king, in fact, he’s elected just like we are and he has a responsibility to come before us and provide us with information about his proposals.”
Lack of information has been a chief complaint from assembly members over all kinds of issues, notably during discussions and proposals of how to effectively provide services to homeless Anchorage residents. However, Bronson said some of that is intentional, especially after the assembly approved a process that could remove him from office for certain offenses.
“All of a sudden that causes me to be even more guarded because, what kind of information will I give them, or should I give them at a certain time,” Bronson said. “Eventually they’ll get all the information. I have to be careful with that. So I don’t meet personally with them very often because of that legal risk, and I’ve been counseled to do that.”
Bronson said conflicts are to be expected, but said he believes overall that Anchorage residents are being well served by their local municipal government
“There wasn’t a conflict for the last six or seven years because the assembly and the administration were of like mind,” Bronson said. “At least half the population of the electorate voted for me, so they expect something different. And I have to serve, I have to govern for every last person in this city, so I have to find those places where we can balance.”
The mayor said he still has lots of work to do and said that he intends to run for another term after his initial term ends in 2024.
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