Mayor refuses to comment on abrupt replacement of municipal manager

Amy Demboski served as Bronson’s Municipal Manager since his term began in 2021
Amy Demboski served as the Bronson Administration Municipal Manager since summer the of 2021. A brief press release shared Monday said she was being replaced.
Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 8:04 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - In a two-sentence news release and short tweet, Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson announced that Kent Kolhase will replace Amy Demboski as Municipal Manager — effective immediately — on Monday morning.

The mayor’s office did not give any reasons for the change; Bronson directed press inquiries to his Director of Communications, Corey Young. Young released a statement articulating that the surprise change in the second-highest ranking position in the municipality was a ‘personnel matter’ and offered no further comment.

The municipal manager is a major role that’s responsible for the smooth daily operations of the city. Kolhase was in the process of being confirmed for another municipality role that would have reported to Demboski last week, suggesting that Bronson’s staffing switch was unanticipated by all, including the mayor himself.

Assembly Vice Chair Chris Constant felt that the mystery enshrouding the swap was on par with his perception of how this administration navigates its staffing troubles.

“As we have seen, of late, there have been a lot of changes on the executive team.” Constant stated. “This mayor is having a hard time keeping people in the positions to do the work of the municipality, and it’s really starting to take a toll on the workforce, and on the municipality.”

Constant also said that the change came as a surprise to the assembly, who received no forewarning of Demboski’s removal.

“The decision-making by this administration, up to this point, has certainly been done in the dark,” Constant said. “It’s left people with a lot more questions than answers.”

However, Constant doesn’t dispute that Mayor Bronson has the power to make major staffing decisions unilaterally.

“Of course, the charter grants the mayor the authority to choose his executive team, this is squarely within his power,” Constant said. “But there are certainly questions about, was it done legally, was a hostile environment created that made this process come to a head, what changed between Friday and now?”