Mayor Strikes Down Ethics Code Amendment

This afternoon, about an hour and a half before the deadline, Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan vetoed a new ordinance adding employment restrictions for elected city officials after leaving office.

The Anchorage Assembly approved the ordinance last Tuesday by six to five vote.

The new restrictions would forbid an assembly or school board member or mayor from holding any compensated position within the municipality for one year after leaving office. Although somewhat autonomous, the school district and its board do fall within the municipality auspices. The ordinance also sought to strengthen the control over any former elected official who might want to participate in a municipal service contract during the same one year period.

In his written veto, Mayor Sullivan said the code change carried consequences contrary to public purpose. He continued that no apparent benefit from an ordinance that could prevent former assembly members or school board members from working as noon duty staff or kindergarten aides at an elementary school for a year after they leave office. The mayor says the ordinance might also prevent a non-profit from seeking advice or an interpretation from an assembly member on municipal code.

Apparent confusion over the impact of the ordinance started to appear during assembly consideration, sometimes over a single word.

Len Anderson, KSKA – Anchorage

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