Anchorage Assembly passes emergency ordinances in wake of Demboski allegations

Anchorage Assembly Members pass three emergency ordinances in wake of Demboski allegations.
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 7:30 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage Assembly members held an emergency meeting Friday afternoon to deal with some of the allegations made by former city manager Amy Demboski that the Bronson administration is mismanaging city resources.

Assembly Vice Chair Christopher Constant said the assembly is taking a letter Demboski wrote alleging improprieties seriously, but that regardless of whether they prove true, there are problems in city government that need to be addressed.

“We already know that there have been incidents like the Tudor and Elmore project in which millions of dollars of work were authorized by a member of the administration without assembly approval,” Constant said. “We know already there are facts that tell us we need to act and there’s enough of a pattern that it’s time now to act so we can get this in line and figure out how to proceed.”

Assembly members passed three emergency ordinances.

EO 2023-1 concerns city boards and commissions. It was approved by a 12-0 vote and allows some board members whose terms have expired to continue to serve until replacements are found so that boards and commissions will have a quorum to conduct business.

EO 2023-2 concerns contract oversight and reporting, and was approved by a 10-2 vote. The ordinance limits what the administration can approve on its own. It requires the assembly to pre-approve any contract over $10,000. Amendments were made to require assembly approval for municipal settlements for certain whistleblower, discrimination and retaliation claims asserted by an employee.

EO 2023-3 clarifies the powers of the Municipal Ombudsman to investigate personnel matters within the municipality, and passed 10-2. The ordinance affirms the Ombudsman has the right to access confidential personnel files during an investigation although an amendment was made to prevent copying or relocating those files.

The emergency ordinances will expire on March 21, although the assembly could vote to extend them.