Berkowitz Appointees Reflect Focus on Housing, Community Development

On Thursday, Anchorage Mayor-Elect Ethan Berkowitz announced three top-level appointments to his incoming administration, and the choices reflect an interest in community development within the next administration.

Berkowitz named Susan Fleek-Green as the administration’s Chief of Staff. Fleek-Green worked for Mark Begich during his time as mayor as well as in the Senator, and directed Berkowitz’s campaign for mayor this year.

Current Director of the Public Transportation Department Lance Wilber will take over the Office of Management and Budget. And Chris Schutte, a prominent figure in the Downtown business community and executive director for the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, is set to become Economic and Community Development Director.

Berkowitz wrote in a release, “My priority is to be fiscally responsible and reorganize the Administration to put an emphasis on planning and community development. The people of Anchorage want to see housing and economic development move forward quickly and in a way that reflects a vision for a strong Anchorage.”

The news comes as the Anchorage Assembly and it’s Title 21 Committee are considering a major ordinance that could temporarily suspend residential design standards, a point of contention between developers and community groups. That ordinance, AO-59, is set for introduction on June 23rd, just a week before the next mayor takes office.