Bronson names Mario Bird as acting chief of staff

Bronson names Mario Bird as acting chief of staff
Published: Apr. 5, 2023 at 9:27 AM AKDT|Updated: Apr. 5, 2023 at 3:31 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Mayor Dave Bronson announced Wednesday morning that Mario Bird will be taking over as acting chief of staff, effective immediately.

Bronson said in a press release on the municipal website that Bird’s predecessor, Adam Trombley, served his last day with the municipality on Tuesday. Trombley voluntarily resigned, according to the administration, to focus on family and personal matters.

“I have nothing but gratitude for Adam, and the work he has accomplished for the people of Anchorage over the last number of years,” Bronson said in the release. “He is a consummate professional, diplomat, and experienced leader.

“I will dearly miss his presence at City Hall and wish him all the best going forward in his career. I am confident he will be successful wherever he goes.”

Bird previously served as Bronson’s senior policy advisor and was also a former nominee for the city’s municipal attorney last September, an appointment that was rejected by the Anchorage Assembly.

Bird was a practicing attorney who represented a group that sued the Assembly in 2020 for closing the Assembly chambers in August of that year due to pandemic restrictions, citing a violation of the Alaska Open Meeting Act.

Bird is also the son of Bob Bird, a longtime Kenai Peninsula resident who works as chair of the Alaska Independence Party, which bills itself as pro-gun, pro-family, and pro-life.

“Having Mario serve in an acting capacity will provide stability and continuity to the Administration,” Bronson said. “I thank him for his willingness to lead while we undergo the process of finding a permanent Chief of Staff.”

Trombley’s resignation is the latest in a growing list of names that have left the Bronson administration over the past year, including former municipal manager Amy Demboski, who later alleged a “hostile work environment” among her reasons for leaving. Former deputy chief of staff Brice Wilbanks also left his employment with the municipality, as well the human resource director Niki Tshibaka resigned.

“It is unusual and I imagine it is challenging to have the level of turnover at the executive level,” Anchorage Assembly chair Suzanne LaFrance said. “Experience matters, and knowing how local government works is a strength that Mr. Trombley has and that’s a loss.”

According to Assembly member Kevin Cross, the lack of permanent employees increases the workload for everyone.

“That just means that the workload on everybody is tremendous,” said Cross. “Not to mention all the things we’re dealing with — homeless, the inflationary causes and the cost and then we have the crazy snowfall in winter. Listen — to be a municipal employee right now is tough because you’re doing that much more work.”