Mayor of Anchorage Bronson’s second choice for library director Judy Norton Eledge resigns

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Anchorage’s appointed library director Judy Norton Eledge has resigned, Mayor Dave Bronson’s office said on Friday.

Bronson appointed Eledge, a longtime Alaskan educator, in August after a scuffle with the Anchorage Assembly over his first choice for library director Sami Graham. The Assembly declined to confirm Graham, saying she did not meet the minimum qualifications for the post, and Bronson immediately appointed Graham as its chief of staff.

Assembly members also said they had similar concerns about the qualifications of Eledge, who, like Graham, does not have a librarianship degree. Eligibility had not yet been confirmed by the Assembly.

The mayor has asked Eledge to remain as deputy principal, according to a statement released Friday by Corey Allen Young, spokesperson for the mayor.

“She didn’t want herself and her family to go through what was unfairly denigrated by the Anchorage Assembly of mayoral candidates during the confirmation process, including the last candidate for the post of director of the library. “Young said.

The mayor’s office will conduct a “global search” to find a new director, he said.

Eledge is active in conservative politics and is president of the Anchorage Republican Women’s Club. She ran for a seat on the Anchorage school board and lost in the April election. During the race, Eledge examined a series of controversial social media posts, including one denouncing the wearing of masks and shedding light on corporal punishment as a parenting tool. Other articles have made inflammatory comments about race, people of color and LGBTQ issues. Eledge claimed that some of the screenshots of his social media posts at the time had been edited, but declined to say which or how they were edited.

The Alaska Library Association Executive Council sent a letter to Assembly members in September about his concerns about Eledge’s appointment.

“Appointing a person who does not meet the qualifications defined in the job description is comparable to appointing a chief of police or firefighter without any prior training or experience in law enforcement or firefighting. fires, ”they wrote.

At its Tuesday meeting, the Assembly is expected to pass an ordinance that would change the way appointments of executives like the library manager are made, giving the Assembly the power to schedule a confirmation vote, rather than having to wait for the mayor to submit the head of department. For approval.

Assembly members proposed the order after clashing with Bronson over the qualifications of some of his senior appointments, including Graham and Eledge.

Some members of the Assembly claim that this would prevent mayors from appointing heads of departments and forgoing Assembly confirmation for long periods of time, thereby bypassing the oversight of appointments by the Assembly.

The Bronson administration, in its 2022 municipal budget, also proposed moving the Anchorage Public Library to become a parks and recreation division. In a recent resolution Sent to Assembly members, the Library Advisory Board opposed the move, citing concerns that a non-librarian would then oversee the library, among other concerns.

The Anchorage Assembly upheld the majority of Bronson’s leadership appointments but rejected two, including Graham, citing qualification issues. Last week, the Assembly narrowly rejected the appointment of Jim Winegarner as real estate manager, fearing that Winegarner lacked the necessary experience.

In August, the director of the health department appointed by Bronson resigned just before his confirmation vote after coming under scrutiny by the Assembly over his qualifications and comments on the pandemic.

Eledge’s departure marks the fifth resignation of a Bronson administration official in recent weeks.

Craig Campbell, Director of Policy and Programs, Bob Doehl, Director of Development Services, Dr John Morris, Homeless Coordinator, and Stephanie Williams, Director of Boards and Commissions who called Assembly members “ criminals ”in a Facebook post, all resigned last month.


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