Anchorage Assembly rejects Bronson’s pick for municipal attorney

a man behind a computer
Mario Bird speaks during a July 12, 2022 meeting of the Anchorage Assembly. Bird was Mayor Dave Bronson’s pick for municipal attorney, but his confirmation was voted down by the Assembly. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

The Anchorage Assembly rejected Mayor Dave Bronson’s pick for municipal attorney Tuesday night. 

Mario Bird was appointed to replace Patrick Bergt as Anchorage’s top lawyer in June, after Bergt resigned. Bird is from Soldotna, and has a history of supporting social conservative causes, including opposing COVID-19 precautions both legally and through writings and public testimony. 

Bird had represented a group that sued the Assembly in 2020, alleging that the Assembly’s temporary ban on in-person testimony as a COVID-19 precaution violated free speech. He also wrote a letter to Providence Alaska executives in 2021 demanding that a conservative activist hospitalized with COVID-19 be treated with the unproven anti-parasitic drug ivermectin.

Bird’s confirmation was voted down 4-8, with members Jamie Allard, Randy Sulte, Kevin Cross and Pete Petersen voting in support of him. None of the Assembly members explained their support or opposition. Assembly chair Suzanne LaFrance did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Bird was at the meeting, and left shortly after he wasn’t confirmed.

The Assembly unanimously voted to confirm Michael Braniff to be Parks and Recreation director. The body also confirmed Courtney Peterson to head the city’s Office of Management and Budget by an 11-1 vote, with member Meg Zaletel opposed.

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

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