Anchorage Assembly overrides Bronson’s 2 vetoes

Seats in front of a dais
The Anchorage Assembly Chambers in the Loussac Library on Jan. 26, 2021. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

The Anchorage Assembly on Friday overturned Mayor Dave Bronson’s vetoes of two ordinances linked to who controls the Assembly’s meeting spaces and the executive appointment process.

The Assembly voted 9 to 2 to override the vetoes at a special meeting. Members Jamie Allard and Crystal Kennedy voted against the overrides.

Bronson had vetoed the two ordinances on Tuesday after the Assembly approved them a week prior.

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

The first ordinance, originally approved 8-2, gives the Assembly control over security, safety, occupancy and other aspects of the Assembly chamber at the Loussac Library. Assembly members say there has been long-term precedence for the body to have authority over its chambers.

“This ordinance merely assures that the Assembly has what it needs to effectively run its meetings, which is critical for doing the city’s business,” Assembly chair Suzanne LaFrance said before the vote to override the mayor’s veto. “It does not do anything more than codify practices, as we’ve discussed, that have been in place for over 45 years.”

But the Bronson administration called the ordinance illegal, arguing that state law gives the mayor executive authority over municipal buildings that aren’t operated by the Anchorage School District, including the library.

The second vetoed ordinance that was overridden by the Assembly Friday changes how mayoral appointees can be confirmed by the Assembly. It was initially approved 9-2 by the Assembly. The ordinance requires the mayor to request a confirmation hearing within 60 days of appointing someone to a position that requires Assembly approval. Assembly members have criticized Bronson for not submitting his confirmation requests in a timely manner. Bronson says the Assembly ” is making its own determination of when a mayor intends to appoint someone to a position subject to confirmation.” Under prior city law, appointees could serve for as long as six months without being confirmed by the Assembly.

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

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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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