The Sullivan administration has named Nancy Usera as a temporary employee relations director, following the departure of Danielle Fegley, who is resigning after holding the job for two years.
Usera will lead the Department of Employee Relations, which is responsible for negotiating contracts with Anchorage's municipal unions.
Seven of the city's nine unions have contracts that have expired or are expiring this year.
Usera served as Mayor Dan Sullivan's first director of employee relations before retiring in 2011. A spokeswoman for Sullivan, Lindsey Whitt, said that Usera had agreed to head the department until the city finds a permanent replacement.
Usera is a veteran of city and state politics, having led the labor and administration departments for the state under former Gov. Wally Hickel. She also served as his chief of staff.
Representatives of city unions have criticized what they characterize as heavy turnover within the city's employee relations department, which they say has made contract negotiations more difficult.
Whitt said in a prepared statement that the department "is functioning to Mayor Sullivan's standards, and the staffing levels are adequate." She added that the expiration of the seven agreements this year has also made the department's job more difficult.
Reach Nathaniel Herz at email@example.com or 257-4311.
By NATHANIEL HERZ