Congratulations to Barbara Jones, newly appointed municipal clerk. She'll have plenty of duties serving the Anchorage Assembly and as a liaison for Assembly business with the public.
But one date that should already be on her calendar is more than 10 months away. That's April 2, 2013, the date of the next regular municipal election.
Anchorage voters will expect 13 hours of voting that passes as uneventfully, routinely and quietly as possible. Every precinct will finish the night with surplus ballots. Voting machines will work with Swiss watch efficiency and accuracy. Poll workers will be well-versed in election rules and procedures. Seals will be unbroken. There will be no wild goose chases to find a place to vote.
And, because no election day is ever perfect, troubleshooters will be swift to respond and sure to deal with any problems that arise. No polling place chair will be told to call back later.
Given what happened in this April's election, the next needs to be a civics book case of the franchise in action.
Ms. Jones has a long record of city service with the Municipal Equal Rights Commission and more recently as the municipal ombudsman. She's dealt with problems and challenges for a living, and according to Assembly Chairman Ernie Hall did a fine job cleaning up a backlog of complaints at the ombudsman's office. Along with the Assembly, she'll be front and center in dealing with whatever independent investigator Daniel Hensley concludes about the election just passed, and whatever changes in election law or procedure he recommends.
Ms. Jones appears to be qualified for the job, and we wish her well in it. And, despite the mess of the elections, residents can thank Barbara Gruenstein for nine years of steady service as municipal clerk. Most of that service was quiet and effective. We don't encourage civic ignorance, but if residents don't know who the municipal clerk is, that can be a good sign.