Anchorage Assembly leaders say they want Mayor Dave Bronson to publicly respond to scathing allegations made against him by recently-fired Municipal Manager Amy Demboski.
An attorney for Demboski issued an 11-page demand letter on Wednesday, calling her firing retaliatory and illegal. The letter also accuses Bronson of numerous “legal and ethical lapses,” including issues with contracting, creating a work environment rife with sexism and other “unlawful and unethical activities using municipal resources.”
Assembly chair Suzanne LaFrance called the allegations shocking.
“The concerns are certainly wide-ranging,” LaFrance said. “From procurement code to the use of municipal resources, to personnel matters. There are a lot of areas that are troubling.”
LaFrance and Assembly Vice Chair Chris Constant issued a written statement Thursday in response to the allegations, describing them as “a level of mismanagement of municipal resources that we have not seen in our tenure on the Assembly.”
Officials with Bronson’s office have so far declined to comment on the allegations.
“The Municipal Attorney’s Office has advised us to not discuss these issues as they relate to potential litigation matters,” Bronson spokesman Hans Rodvik wrote in a statement Wednesday.
LaFrance said the mayor hasn’t commented on the allegations to the Assembly, either. In her and Constant’s statement, they both demanded that Bronson publicly address the issues.
“I believe that the community is owed an explanation,” LaFrance said, “and especially since there is no litigation pending right now, this is the time for the mayor to address the community directly and explain what is going on in the administration.”
LaFrance notes that many of the letter’s allegations fall outside the Assembly’s purview — the body is charged with law making and managing city spending.
However, at a committee meeting Thursday, Assembly members said they plan to meet soon to review all of their legal options. Also, LaFrance says, the body is considering hiring a consultant to review the section of city code related to purchasing and contracts. They also want to improve the Assembly’s budget analyst’s access to the city’s finances.
“We will do everything that is within the Assembly’s powers to safeguard the municipality’s finances and protect the interests of residents,” LaFrance and Constant said in their statement.
While city personnel matters are also outside the Assembly’s jurisdiction, LaFrance and Constant called on any city employees with concerns of “further improprieties” to reach out to the municipal ombudsman’s office.