Assembly Votes to End Public Testimony on AO-37
Unions offer deal if assembly tables ordinance
ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage Assembly voted not to extend public testimony after hearing over five hours of public comment on Monday night. The Anchorage Assembly heard public testimony for the fifth time on AO-37, the ordinance that would change how the city deals with it's workers, although this was the first opportunity for the public to have its say since several amendments were added to the ordinance.
The assembly proposed cutting testimony off last week, after 15 hours of public testimony. The ACLU responded to that proposal by saying it was infringing on Anchorage residents' rights. They claimed the assembly set a precedent in 2009 when it heard over 37 hours of public testimony on a gay rights ordinance.
At about 10:30 p.m., Assemblyman Dick Traini proposed continuing the testimony at a later date. That motion was voted down 6 to 3 with just Paul Honeman and Patrick Flynn supporting more public testimony.
That doesn't mean that the public can't comment. Assembly Chair Ernie Hall said in an interview before the meeting that people could still submit written comments about the proposed changes to AO-37.
Monday night's testimony was very similar to the past four meetings. Most who testified were either one of the city's over 2,000 employees or their family members. Though the meeting was noticeably less crowded than past meetings, over 100 speakers signed up. That was too many than the six hours could accommodate.
To counter, unions offered the mayor's office an alternative.
On Friday, a letter signed by eight municipal unions was delivered to Mayor Sullivan. In it, they pledged to extend their current contracts for a year if the assembly "indefinitely tables" the ordinance.