Assembly authorizes subpoena action against city for 2023 election complaint

Assembly authorizes subpoena action against city for 2023 election complaint
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 2:58 PM AKDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2023 at 5:35 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage Assembly voted to authorize subpoena powers to produce evidence and testimony regarding an complaint of alleged impropriety filed by a former city official in the city election.

The Assembly voted 9-3 Tuesday on a resolution giving the chair power to subpoena those involved in a complaint filed by Sami Graham, the former chief of staff for Mayor Dave Bronson.

The resolution states that Assembly members have given enough time for the Bronson administration to come up with documents detailing the days surrounding the election but the administration has not sufficiently responded.

Municipal Ombudsman Darrel Hess reported in an August meeting that he completed the investigation into the original election challenge by Graham.

The new challenge by the Assembly stems from an investigation into the April 4 election in which Graham filed a complaint to challenge the voting results one week after the election, but did so just hours after the city’s Information Technology Director Marc Dahl created the policy that Graham based her complaint on.

At the time, Graham was endorsing a conservative Assembly member. But Hess found the complaint was filed improperly.

Hess later came out saying that Dahl had no authority to create the policy without first getting approval from heads of departments within the municipality.

Hess said Graham’s complaint that day dealt with an internal policy that was only posted to the municipality’s intranet and wasn’t yet publicly available.

“This appears to be very egregious, as the mayor’s chief of staff said in the Assembly work session, the director’s actions were improper,” Hess said last month. “I think a 6-year-old could connect the dots, and I think it makes a troubling picture. I mean, it’s hard to dismiss this as coincidental, it just falls into place too neatly.”