Anchorage Assembly nixes effort to make city clerk an elected position

fair haired woman with glasses
Anchorage Municipal Clerk Barbara Jones (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday indefinitely postponed voting on a ballot initiative that would make the city clerk an elected official. 

An ordinance from Mayor Dave Bronson would’ve put a question to voters in the next municipal election on whether the city clerk would be elected by residents, rather than appointed by the Assembly. 

Assembly leadership had decried the proposal because they say an elected clerk may not have the skills needed to do the job. They also said they’re concerned about having elections run in a partisan manner. 

Resident Shirley Pitts spoke in opposition to the ordinance on behalf of the League of Women Voters at Tuesday night’s Assembly meeting.

“An elected municipal clerk would most definitely have a conflict of interest in preparing for and conducting an election of which he or she is actually listed on the ballot, and most likely would be campaigning during the height of the election process,” Pitts said.

East Anchorage Assembly member Forrest Dunbar moved to postpone the ordinance indefinitely, and said he believed similar ordinances were giving a platform to election disinformation. 

“Unfounded claims about elections nationwide, unfounded claims, without evidence, about our own elections, about our own clerk,” Dunbar said. “And for that reason, I urge support to postpone this item indefinitely, and frankly kill the item.” 

Eagle River member Jamie Allard spoke in favor of the proposal, expressing concerns with how she believes the city has conducted recent elections. 

“I wanted to see this go on the ballot because I do believe that the community and the voters should have a voice,” Allard said.

Allard was one of three members who voted against postponing the ordinance, along with Kevin Cross and Randy Sulte.

Ahead of the vote, Assembly vice-chair Chris Constant introduced an alternate version of the ordinance that would’ve instead made the municipal manager, who is appointed by the mayor, an elected official. The Assembly ultimately did not take up Constant’s ordinance.

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Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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