Anchorage Assembly postpones vote on changing how mayoral vacancies are filled

The Anchorage Assembly has postponed a vote on an ordinance that would have voters decide on changing how to fill unexpected mayoral and Assembly vacancies. 

If approved, the city charter would be changed to require a special election between 90 and 120 days after a mayoral vacancy. One exception is that if a regular election is scheduled less than 120 days after the vacancy, no special election would be held. 

There is currently no language in the municipal charter requiring a special election be held no later than a set timeframe after the vacancy. 

Assembly members John Weddleton of South Anchorage and Crystal Kennedy of Eagle River introduced the ordinance in an effort to limit the time that a non-elected mayor serves. Between former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s resignation and Mayor Dave Bronson’s victory last year, Austin Quinn-Davidson served for roughly nine months as acting mayor. 

RELATED: Assembly reorganizes, elects Austin Quinn-Davidson to become interim mayor

If approved by voters, the Assembly chair would serve as acting mayor until the vacancy is filled. It would also increase the amount of time the Assembly has to hold a special election to fill an Assembly vacancy from 60 to 90 days. 

The Assembly voted unanimously to postpone voting on the ordinance to their Jan. 25 meeting.

Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect that the ordinance would not change the charter, but would put the issue to voters.

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