Assembly votes to hold private meeting without mayor after receiving ombudsman memo

Assembly votes to hold private meeting without mayor after receiving ombudsman memo
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 7:33 AM AKST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Just over a week after former Anchorage municipal manager Amy Demboski’s attorney sent a letter outlining allegations of mismanagement against the mayoral administration, more potential concerns have emerged, this time from the city’s ombudsman.

The Anchorage Assembly met in a special session Thursday and voted unanimously to discuss the matter behind closed doors.

“Assembly leadership is asking the body to move into executive session so that we can be briefed by Assembly council on the municipality’s potential exposure, as well as receive advice on actions that members might consider in response to the allegations in Mrs. Demboski’s letter,” Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance said.

The executive session was called to receive legal guidance and to discuss potential liabilities related to items outlined in the letter.

Following that session, a new issue to address became the center of attention — the ombudsman calling for the municipal prosecutor’s office to investigate whether Mayor Dave Bronson’s administration is monitoring city employees who file complaints against their coworkers.

“The letter that was just accepted as an aim contains very serious allegations that raise questions about the liability of the municipality, as well as possible negative outcomes for the municipality,” LaFrance said. “Assembly members need to understand what actions we can take to protect and safeguard the municipality’s interests.”

The ombudsman memo prompted Assembly Vice Chair Christopher Constant to express concern over Mayor Bronson’s interest in participating in any executive sessions related to these allegations.

“Under charter section 5.02B, it states that the mayor’s participation is as a member,” Constant said. “And as members of the body, we have access to these records after they have been recorded, and so for the purposes of conversation in front of the public, I want to go over if the Mayor has a conflict.”

The Assembly voted that there was a conflict of interest with Mayor Bronson, which means he will not be included in the discussion and will not have access to the recorded conversation of the Assembly and its attorney until they are made public.

The Assembly will hold another special meeting Friday at 3 p.m. at City Hall in room 155. The letter from the omsbudman will be further addressed at that meeting.