Bronson proposes making Anchorage municipal clerk an elected official

a person is sworn in as mayor by another person, and others are watching
Dave Bronson (left) is officially sworn in as mayor of Anchorage by municipal clerk Barbara Jones (right) on July 1, 2021, at the Marriott Anchorage Downtown hotel during a breakfast fundraiser for Bean’s Cafe. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson announced Thursday that he’s proposing an ordinance to make the municipal clerk an elected official. 

Currently, the municipal clerk is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Anchorage Assembly. Under the mayor’s proposal, the city charter would be changed to have the clerk elected for a three-year term. Other requirements would be that the clerk be an Anchorage resident while in office and be a resident for at least two years prior to the election. 

In a statement Thursday, Bronson said he believes Anchorage voters should decide who oversees the city’s elections.

“Having the Clerk elected by the people will improve transparency, create accountability, and increase trust in the democratic process,” Bronson said.

The mayor’s proposal comes days after the Assembly voted on several changes to city election processes, including the addition of a 24/7 livestream of ballot counting and some changes related to election observers. 

In order to change municipal charter, the ordinance would need a supermajority of Assembly members in support. Anchorage Assembly vice chair Chris Constant said that’s unlikely.

“It takes eight votes of an Assembly to put a charter amendment onto the ballot, and I don’t see that happening,” Constant said.

If the ordinance did pass, it would then go on the ballot for the April 5, 2022 municipal election. 

Alaska Public Media’s Lex Treinen contributed to this report.

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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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