Transition work begins for mayors

ELECTION: Sullivan prepares to take reins from Claman July 1.

May 8, 2009 

Acting Mayor Matt Claman and soon-to-be-mayor Dan Sullivan held their first transition meeting Friday to begin the two-month process of changing the reins of city government.

Sullivan, a Republican, won election on May 5 by a wide margin, beating Democrat Eric Croft.

Sullivan takes over from Claman, also a Democrat, on July 1.

During the Friday lunchtime meeting, Claman gave Sullivan a 30-page report outlining the different city departments, their current "challenges" and "opportunities." The report was released to the media at a City Hall press conference shortly after the meeting.

A copy of the report can be found at www.adn.com.

Among the challenges mentioned in the report: managing overtime costs at the Fire Department; a need to expand the Police Department headquarters, including creating more space to store evidence; renovating or replacing the city's Health and Human Services building on L Street; reducing noise at Merrill Field Airport; and replacing aging city buses.

Sullivan named Larry Crawford head of his transition team. Crawford has worked for previous administrations. He held the job of municipal manager under Rick Mystrom in the 1990s.

Sullivan wouldn't speak to specifics of any changes in staff, which are customary with new mayors, especially when one political party replaces another. He would only say: "There's no reason to change folks who are doing good work."

Claman became acting mayor in January after former Mayor Mark Begich, a Democrat, left to become a U.S. Senator. Shortly after Claman took over as head of the city, the city discovered a $17 million budget gap affecting its current fiscal year. Claman started trimming spending and city administrators are hopeful they've bridged the gap, although some wage concessions and other cuts still need to be finalized.

Sullivan, 57, is a conservative who ran on a platform of controlling city spending while seeking ways to relieve property taxpayers. He is a businessman who recently completed nine years on the Anchorage Assembly, the city's legislative body.

Because of the need for a runoff election, the normal transition time of 90 days has been shortened to 60 days.

Sullivan left the press conference early to attend the dedication of a room at the Hickel House at Providence Alaska Medical Center. The room was being dedicated to his parents, George Sullivan, who was mayor of the Municipality of Anchorage from 1975 to 1981, and his late wife, Margaret Sullivan.


Find Megan Holland online at adn.com/contact/mholland or call 257-4343.

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