Nepotism law waived for fire chief in Assembly confirmation

August 25, 2009 

Everyone on the Anchorage Assembly seemed to agree that 19-year firefighter Mark Hall is qualified to be fire chief, but his confirmation stumbled temporarily Tuesday on a nepotism issue. Two of his nephews also work for the department. Mayor Dan Sullivan said he chose Hall to be chief because he's worked in several layers in the agency, he's a former fire union president, and "he brings a kind of useful energy to the job."

The mayor said four levels of supervisory separation will exist between Hall and his relatives and that he won't be directly involved in decisions about their employment or promotions.

But a city law prevents the employment of relatives by city executives. Sullivan asked the Assembly to waive that requirement and approve Hall as chief. The waiver, which passed 6-4, specifies that Hall won't directly supervise his nephews. Any decisions about their wages or promotions will be delegated to Deputy Chief Doug Schrage.

Several members said they wanted to modify the city code provisions dealing with nepotism instead of granting the waiver for Hall. A majority voted to grant the waiver anyway.

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