By AlaskaWatchman.com

The far-left majority on the Anchorage Assembly is demanding that Mayor Dave Bronson reverse his decision to fire the city’s first ever chief equity officer.

Earlier this month Bronson dismissed Clifford Armstrong III. Hired back in April by then acting mayor Austin-Quinn Davidson, the original job description entailed helping the mayor promote LGBTQ political issues while promoting and providing special opportunities for select minority groups across the city.

Former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz was the mastermind behind the plan. Before resigning in 2020, he developed the post to create “equity programs,” and establish “equity data targets” to address alleged “systemic disparities” resulting from innate societal biases. The equity officer was to gather and present data to the mayor and Assembly so they could eliminate perceived inequities through enforcement.

Assembly leadership issued a letter claiming Armstrong has not, in fact, been fired because the Assembly did not concur with the mayor’s decision.

When Bronson was elected in May, the conservative mayor placed a different emphasis on the equity officer’s duties – less focus on systemic inequity and more on ensuring that city job notices and recruitment efforts reach both minority groups and other qualified candidates. It was more equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcomes.

Earlier this month, Bronson replaced Armstrong with his own choice for the post – Uluao “Junior” Aumavae. As soon as Bronson announced the switch, several Anchorage Assembly members sprang into action, claiming the mayor had no authority to fire Armstrong and choose his own equity officer.

Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar, who lost the mayoral race to Bronson, took to Facebook to express his indignation.

The equity officer debate is part of a larger political standoff between Bronson and the Assembly.

“The chief equity officer may be dismissed by the mayor only for cause shown, and only with the concurrence of the majority of the Assembly,” he posted Oct. 11. “There has been no concurrence from the Assembly; as it stands, this is an illegal firing.”

On Oct. 22, the Assembly leadership issued a formal letter claiming that Armstrong has not, in fact, been fired because the Assembly did not concur with the mayor’s decision.

The letter re-states Dunbar’s original assertion verbatim.

“Anchorage Municipal Code section 3.20.140A.1.c. states that ‘the chief equity officer may be dismissed by the mayor only for cause shown, and only with the concurrence of a majority of the assembly,’” it notes.

Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance stated in the letter that Armstrong was not dismissed because of cause, and she awaits the mayor’s response on the matter. The letter ends by asserting that Armstrong’s firing was illegal.

Bronson’s team doesn’t see it that way. An email earlier this month from Communications Director Corey Allen Young maintains that the mayor “acted consistently with the city charter, as spelled out in Section 5.02.” This states, “The mayor shall appoint all heads of municipal departments, subject to confirmation by the Assembly, on the basis of professional qualifications. Persons appointed by the mayor serve at the pleasure of the mayor.”

The equity officer debate is part of a larger political standoff between Bronson and the Assembly. Last month the majority rejected Bronson’s pick to lead the Anchorage library system. Now, the Assembly is currently considering an ordinance that would further restrict Bronson’s ability to make appointments for key positions in his administration. This proposal will be taken up at the Oct. 27 meeting.

The two sides may be headed to a court battle to resolve the dispute, which some see as a separation of powers issue between the city’s legislative and executive branches.

TAKING ACTION

The Anchorage Assembly has its next regular meeting on Oct. 27 at 5 p.m. Click here for information on how to provide testimony on agenda and non-agenda items either in-person, by phone or through written comments.

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Anchorage Assembly demands mayor reinstate leftist ‘equity’ officer

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


18 Comments

  • Neil+A+DeWitt says:

    Who runs Anchorage, the Mayor or the assembly? I say the mayor! The assembly works for the mayor and the people. The people put both the mayor and the assembly in power. Maybe everyone needs to read their job description!

  • NAV says:

    Mayor has a legal right to fire anyone in his administration.

  • G Aleution says:

    Ma’am, you were not voted the Mayor by Anchorage. There’s a reason for that.

  • G Aleution says:

    There’s several billion people in this world and not one of them is required to do anything that you command. Sorry to break it to you but it is like that.

  • Steve says:

    Instead of taking this issue to the liberal courts why not take it to the people and let them vote on who has control over the firing and appointment of the department heads?

  • Burt says:

    “If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.”

    ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

  • G Aleutian says:

    This conundrum was created because the assembly ordinance was unconstitutional. They attempted to blend the legislative function with the executive function. At least they didn’t bend the third pillar of government, the judiciary, into the the ordinance. The ordinance conflicts with separation of powers which none of them understand. Our Constitution doesn’t work like that. FORTUNATELY! Hope the matter is set straight and the assembly are given a refresher in Constitutional limits. That would be money well spent.

    • EscapedAnchorage says:

      Yeeep and they even did it under a fake mayor. Even Claman didn’t do anything drastic to the mayors office when Begich stepped down.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    Go Bronson stand your ground we’re behind you

    • Jim Kelley says:

      We need more Politicians like Bronson in AK and the country. All you “Woke” crazy leftist have messed the country up! Trump 2024

  • A_Working_Class_Hero says:

    The Marxist 9, when they realized that they had lost the Mayoral election knew they had lost their socialist control over American Anchorage residents so they dug in and since have gone with plan B.
    .
    RULE OR RUIN!!
    .
    They literally oppose every single thing the Mayor is doing, similar to throwing crap at a wall and seeing what sticks.
    They must be opposed at every turn and removed as soon as possible. Anchorage depends on this. VOTE THEM OUT. DO NOT COMPLY!!

  • NAV says:

    Keep up the good work Mayor !!!

  • Steve+Peterson says:

    Dave Bronson, stand your ground! Do not go Dunleavy on Anchorage! The left only respects forcefulness, because that is what they use on the right, so trying to be nice and respectful to the left is doomed from the start.

    • DoneWithIt says:

      Correct.
      Stand your ground Bronson – use your bully pulpit regularly.
      Do not be a Dunleavy – standing tall, doing nothing – again.

  • A_Working_Class_Hero says:

    Oh, by the way, if you haven’t, read the text of AO 2021-92. If you summarize all of the “Whereas” statements, it could (and probably should) read: “Whereas the Mayor has pissed us off with his appointments and;
    Whereas we don’t want to work at all with him”
    Be it ordained that we will now change the rules to fit our desires in a bald-faced attempt to erode his executive powers, marginalize his administration, and get our socialist way.

  • Robert Weel says:

    It is the Mayors decision to hire or fire, not the nine Morons on the pathetic Anchorage Ass(embly)! Wake up Anchorage and let Mayor Bronson do the job we elected him to do.

  • John says:

    Perhaps voters deliberately elected a Mayor who don’t want or need an inclusion officer with the job description of promoting LGBT political issues. It’s not too difficult to understand.

  • Buzz Kelley says:

    We do NOT need an equity officer. All that “officer” will do is promote one person as more important than another.

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