Bronson vetoes 2 ordinances aimed at asserting Anchorage Assembly’s authority

Dave Bronson at an Assembly meeting
Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson at an Assembly meeting on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson on Tuesday vetoed two ordinances that were passed by the Anchorage Assembly Wednesday. The ordinances were aimed at asserting the Assembly’s authority over the chamber and the city’s mayoral appointee confirmation process.

RELATED: After Anchorage Assembly passes rules to assert authority, Mayor Bronson accuses it of a ‘power grab’

The first ordinance gave the Assembly control over security, safety, occupancy and other aspects of the Assembly chamber. It includes allowing the body to enforce health mandates, like the masking requirements the Assembly passed last month. 

In recent months, Bronson has battled with the Assembly over who ultimately has authority over the Assembly chambers.

“While the Assembly has the power to determine rules and the order of business for meetings, it cannot create for itself the ability to manage, or otherwise exercise custody of, real or personal property,” Bronson said in a statement after issuing the vetoes.

The mayor and his staff have argued that the ordinance wasn’t legal and state statute gives him the authority over all municipal buildings that don’t belong to the school district. Assembly leadership has countered by pointing to the decades of precedent where the body held authority over its chambers. 

The second ordinance Bronson vetoed changed how mayoral appointees can be confirmed by the Assembly. It would have required the mayor to request a confirmation hearing within 60 days of appointing someone to a position that requires Assembly approval. If the request was not submitted within 60 days, the Assembly chair could schedule a confirmation hearing.

“By placing limitations on the administration’s right to delegate for longer than 60 days the responsibilities of a position subject to confirmation, the Assembly is making its own determination of when a mayor intends to appoint someone to a position subject to confirmation,” Bronson said in a statement.

To override the mayor’s vetoes, the Assembly would need a supermajority of eight members. Both ordinances had passed with at least eight votes. The Assembly has scheduled a meeting on Friday at 3:30 p.m. to vote to override the vetoes.

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Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org.

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