Assembly overrides mayor's veto of full-time parks jobs

The Anchorage Assembly Tuesday night overrode Mayor Dan Sullivan's veto of some Parks Department money in next year's budget.

Earlier in the day, Sullivan announced he was vetoing a move by the Assembly last week to add money into next year's budget to keep three full-time parks positions he'd proposed cutting to four seasonal part-time jobs to save money.

The Assembly voted 6-5 last week to add $144,607 to the $452 million budget to keep the recreation specialist positions.

But Tuesday night, the vote was 8-3 to overturn the mayor's veto, and re-instate the full-time positions.

Assemblyman Patrick Flynn was behind the proposal.

"I just appreciate the Assembly including (the funds) in the budget and would appreciate its inclusion in the final budget," Flynn said before the vote.

Assembly members Adam Trombley, Jennifer Johnston and Chris Birch voted against the veto override.

Citizens complained the proposed cut would hurt popular Parks and Recreation programs, including the Tuesday Night Races. The administration had argued the programs can be managed adequately with part-timers in the face of rising costs.

In a memo to Assembly members with the veto Tuesday, Sullivan suggested the cut was an example of "an opportunity to deliver quality service and save money."

"We cannot ignore the fact that budget constraints, now and in the future, require new approaches to managing municipal assets and the delivery of popular recreation programs and services," the mayor wrote. "All other things being equal, the coming increases in labor costs require serious consideration of all alternatives just to maintain the status quo in municipal services.

PDF: Sullivan veto memo

Anchorage Daily News /