Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson has promoted his acting chief of staff into the role permanently. Mario Bird is now the fifth person to hold the title since Bronson took office two years ago.
Bird had been the acting chief of staff since April, when Adam Trombley resigned. The position has loosely defined policy and oversight duties determined by the mayor and is not subject to Assembly confirmation.
“I view myself as someone who’s interfacing and trying to pull the levers, as it were, but also do so in a way that’s genial and in comportment with our political system, the municipal code and just being decent,” Bird said in an interview Friday.
Specifically, he said he works with city executives and department heads to pursue the mayor’s priorities “in a legal and a prudent manner,” manages the mayor’s time with the public, and maintains communication between the executive branch and the Assembly.
“We don’t always, agree, obviously, but I’ve had good communication with the prior Assembly and the new counterparts elected in later April,” he said.
Bird was previously an attorney in private practice. Last year, Bronson picked him to lead the city’s legal department. The Assembly rejected him without explanation. Bronson then moved him into a senior policy advisor position.
In a press release, Bronson said Bird had served his administration and the people of Anchorage well since joining his team last year and that he was confident in Bird.
Before working for the city, Bird was outspoken for conservative causes and COVID-19 controversies. He represented a group protesting then-Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s COVID-19 emergency orders. The Anchorage Daily News also reported that he wrote Providence Alaska executives to demand a conservative activist hospitalized with COVID-19 be treated with the unproven antiparasitic drug ivermectin.
In a confirmation hearing last August for the municipal attorney position, Bird said he wouldn’t use that voice in his role representing the city and stick to his professional responsibilities.