Judy Eledge resigns as Anchorage’s deputy library director

A white woman in yellow sitting at a seat
Judy Eledge, then acting library director, at a special Anchorage Assembly meeting on Oct. 14, 2021. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Anchorage’s controversial deputy library director, Judy Eledge, is resigning.

Mayor Dave Bronson announced in a brief statement Tuesday that Eledge’s last day is May 15.

Her resignation came hours before the Assembly was set to vote on a resolution recommending that the mayor ask her to step down for a number of reasons including reports of bullying and harassment. The resolution also heavily cites reporting last month by the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica about Eledge’s inflammatory and racist comments, some of which were recorded.

Assembly chair Chris Constant, one of the sponsors of the resolution, said Eledge’s resignation seemed “inevitable” following the article.

“I’m just grateful,” he said. “It’s time for the whole conversation about the library to heal.”

Eledge, a retired teacher and a longtime Republican Party insider, was also Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s recent pick for a seat on the national Education Commission of the States. A spokesman for the governor said Tuesday that Eledge will keep that position.

Eledge’s tenure in Anchorage city government has been riddled with controversy from the start.

She was initially Bronson’s pick for library director, despite not having a degree in library science — a requirement for the position. A few months later, Eledge resigned from the top library position, with the mayor’s spokesman saying she did not want to go through “what has been an unfair disparaging” of the mayor’s nominees. Bronson then named her deputy library director — and de-facto director — as the search for a top librarian dragged on.

Last year, the Anchorage Office of Equal Opportunity also launched an investigation into Eledge over allegations that she made offensive statements and created a hostile work environment. Heather MacAlpine, then head of the office, was fired by Bronson as she was investigating Eledge. She later filed wrongful termination lawsuits, and the Assembly and city are currently weighing a potential six-figure legal settlement with her. 

Constant said Eledge’s departure is timely.

“If you juxtapose that with the proposal that the administration is making for settlement claims with Heather MacAlpine,” Constant said, “it’s pretty hard to contemplate resolving those questions if one of the primary factors that was within that whole universe of problems wasn’t resolved.”

Eledge did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday, nor did the Bronson administration.

Alaska Public Media’s Jeremy Hsieh contributed to this report.

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

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