Bronson fires director of Anchorage’s Office of Equal Opportunity

A black woman with hoop earrings
Office of Equal Opportunity Director Heather MacAlpine in 2019. She was fired on May 11, 2022. (Photo Heather MacAlpine)

The director of the Office of Equal Opportunity in Anchorage has been fired. Heather MacAlpine served in the role for nearly seven years. 

MacAlpine said she got a letter Wednesday morning informing her that as an executive appointment, she serves at the pleasure of the mayor, and that her services would end immediately. 

“I did not voluntarily resign, nor do I know why my services were no longer of use to the municipality,” she said. “So I’m a little perplexed at the timing.”

In her role, MacAlpine said she worked on projects like ensuring federal grants are given equitably to minority and women-owned businesses. She also said her office was a place where city employees could come to report discrimination and harassment.

Erica Barry, who previously was the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise officer in the officer, took over the acting director role, according to a city spokesperson.

Some Assembly members are concerned about the firing and the lack of explanation. 

“I’m not only concerned about her getting fired, but about the many other Muni employees that have either gotten fired over the last, however many months it’s been, or left,” said Austin Quinn-Davidson who represents West Anchorage and previously was acting mayor. 

The Bronson administration did not respond to questions about MacAlpine’s departure. In an email, spokesperson Hans Rodvik said the city “refrains from commenting on personnel matters.”

At least two other top officials have left the administration this year. Cheryl Frasca retired from her role as budget director. A spokesperson for the administration said that Frasca had returned to retirement after her commitment to help with budget revisions was done. 

Karl Raszkiewicz, who also served as budget director and later as policy and programs director, resigned in January. Raszkiewicz did not give a reason for his resignation. 

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This story has been updated with information about MacAlpine’s replacement.

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Lex Treinen covers culture, homelessness, politics and corrections for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at ltreinen@alaskapublic.org.