Anchorage Assembly’s deceptive AO-60: “Violation of the public trust” does not mean violation of OUR public’s trust

Related: Kinkopf: The Scope of the Impeachment Power: What are “High Crimes and Misdemeanors”? — “No President has been removed from office through impeachment”

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[Updated 6/1/22]

The Anchorage Assembly hired attorney Bill Falsey, who was defeated by Dave Bronson in his bid for mayor, to draft an ordinance they can use to remove Mayor Bronson and assembly members they don’t like.

Falsey created this list of possible reasons in AO 2022-60:

1. Acceptance of cash gifts from one doing business with the 39 municipality
2. Violation of chapter 1.15
3. Perjury
4. Falsification of records
5. Filing false reports
6. Nepotism
7. Making personal use of municipal or school district property
8. Destruction of municipal or school district property
9. Official oppression
10. Actual or attempted official misconduct, as defined by state law
11. Ordering, or knowingly allowing a person appointed by the 4 mayor to order, a municipal employee to undertake an unlawful 5 act
12. Substantial breach of a statutory-, Code- or Charter-imposed 7 duty

In the Assembly’s 5/20/22 Municipality of Anchorage Meetings YouTube worksession video, Bill Falsey was responding to Kevin Cross’s question in which he basically asked: doesn’t the clause “but are not limited to” mean “without limits?”

@ 54:00 Falsey responded:

“…the baseline limit of it has to rise to the level of ‘breach of the public trust.’ And even in the absence of a list like this, there’s going to be common law, case law decisions that a hearing officer or a reviewing municipality attorney will have to decide: is this conduct that’s being alleged rising to that level? …

In the absence of an ordinance like this, the list is only whatever is perceived to be a breach of the public trust right now, as to the mayor or to elected service area members. Because all we have in the absence of an ordinance like this is the charter command; ‘that can be removed for breach of the public trust.’”

So if they want to remove the mayor or an assembly member, now they can use Falsey’s wishlist to find something to accuse her with, whereas before, they would have had to find a case in which a community fired their assembly member for doing something similar (taking a paper clip home).

According to the AO, a hearing officer then decides if it was a violation of the public trust or not — even if it didn’t — though the accused is allowed to present evidence during a public hearing.

Then the Assembly can remove the official by a 2/3rds vote.

The public didn’t decide it was a breach. Anchorage/Eagle River residents didn’t. So it wasn’t proven to be a breach of their public’s trust.

So imagine if they tried to get rid of Constant’s target #2, Jamie Allard, it’s up to them if she ‘breached the public trust,’ not the people she represents.

A small group of Anchorage people recently tried to recall Jamie. They only got 18% of the signatures needed to start the recall, but our Assembly could still use the language “breach of the public trust” to remove Jamie; though, she has not breached the public’s trust, as Eagle River residents proved.

So this AO doesn’t have anything to do with our public considering their public trust having been broken.

So ‘breach of the public trust’ isn’t based on what our public thinks. It’s whatever our Assembly and hearing officer determine.

The truth is it’s not really a breach of the public trust unless Anchorage/Eagle River residents have actually demonstrated they believe it is by recall.

This AO is deceptive legalize. ‘Breach of the public trust‘ does not mean breach of our public’s​ trust.’