Tuesday Testimony for Ordinance 37?
Despite confusion from the Administration, Public Testimony on Anti-Worker Ordinance 37 is officially scheduled to start TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26TH sometime after 6:00 pm.
This ordinance would freeze Muni employee pay and benefits forever, gut collective bargaining rights, and sets up “managed competition,” in which city employees would bid against private contractors for work.
There has been conflicting information circulating about when public testimony is supposed to begin. Assembly Chair, Ernie Hall announced to a Working Group held last Friday between the Assembly and the unions that the testimony would begin on Wednesday, February 27th. Mayor Sullivan repeated that same announcement on talk radio this week. The Anchorage Daily News and at least one of the local television news programs stated the same.
While there IS a meeting listed on the Assembly Calendar for a Wednesday, February 27th continuance of Tuesday’s Regular Assembly Meeting, that is the only information listed on the calendar. We only have Hall’s and Sullivan’s word as to why that extension exists. According to the Assembly Agenda, the Official Notice for Public Hearing states that the testimony WILL begin at the Regular Assembly Meeting on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26th.
So, the question remains, if they are truly serious about officially moving the public hearing for Ordinance 37 to Wednesday, why have they not changed the Notice of Public Hearing?
Simple answer — they can’t.
There is a two-week notification requirement on scheduling a public hearing. Officially changing it now would mean it would need to be two-weeks from the change day. So, the Mayor and the Assembly Chair’s claim that the Ordinance 37 Public Hearing will start on February 27th is VERY UN-OFFICIAL and they know that. It is purely up to the whims of a majority of the Assembly. In spite of the information put out by the two highest officials in the Municipal Government, they could open up and finish up testimony on Tuesday, leaving anyone who trusted Hall and Sullivan completely in the wind.
In short, there is ABSOLUTELY NO GUARANTEE THAT THEY WILL EXTEND THE TESTIMONY TO WEDNESDAY.
As a matter-of-fact, indicators are that the Mayor may be encouraging public testimony to be cut-off at any time.
Here is what Dan Sullivan had to say about the public testimony on talk radio. Note he also repeats that un-official start date for testimony.
“We’ve introduced it and now it’s the Assembly’s job to manage their time and their hearings. They’re scheduled on February 27th to hold a public hearing starting at 6:00 at the Assembly Chambers. I know they’ll try and get through as many people as they can in the five hours allotted. Ummm…I think the Chair and the Assembly have the ability at some point to say, “OK, we’ve heard enough.” Because, there will get to be a point where you are not going to receive any new information and people always have the ability to communicate with the Assembly by letter, by email, by text, by Tweet, or just by old fashioned snail mail. So, the process now is up to the Chair and the Vice Chair to work it out. I think it will be very inclusive, obviously. But I think there will be a point at which you just have to say, you know, we’re now to the point where we need to start deliberating this process and then make a decision.”
Some may ask, why all the intrigue? What is the hurry?
Many hold to a theory that Mayor Sullivan may be trying to ram the Ordinance through the Assembly before the April 2nd municipal election…allegedly…in case Cheryl Frasca loses in District 3.
But, let’s not forget that anti-worker Ordinance 37 is not the only thing the Mayor wants to ram through. Tuesday is also the final night of Title 21 testimony…something they desperately want to pass…allegedly…while Frasca holds court in District 3. It seems much more logical to lull those of us who wish to testify on the anti-worker ordinance into the belief that the testimony won’t start until Wednesday. Then, on the final night of Title 21, cut off that testimony and start Ordinance 37 while the crowds aren’t there.
So, if you trust Mayor Dan Sullivan and Assembly Chair Ernie Hall to always be honest and fair, feel free to only show up on Wednesday.
If you are the rest of us, plan to be there BOTH days.