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ACLU, Assembly chairman to address public hearing rules

Rosemary Shinohara
Members of the public listen to discussion and votes on Tuesday night. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Patrick Flynn argues against the passage of the proposal to restrict unions. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Bill Starr and Adam Trombley listen to discussion of amendments. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Assembly chair Ernie Hall discusses amendments to the proposal. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan listens to discussion. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Butch McCoy, a street maintenance operator, listens to discussion of amendments to labor relations proposal. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Assemblymen Paul Honeman talks with Dick Traini talk after the votes are cast. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Members of the public listen to discussion and votes on Tuesday night. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Elvi Gray-Jackson talks with Ernie Hall before the start of the meeting. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Patrick Flynn argues against the passage of the proposal to restrict unions. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Adam Trombley talks with Anchorage mayor Dan Sullivan. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Bill Starr and Adam Trombley listen to discussion of amendments. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
The lobby outside Assembly Chambers holds an overflow audience. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Assembly chair Ernie Hall discusses amendments to the proposal. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan listens to discussion. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Assemblymen Paul Honeman talks with Dick Traini talk after the votes are cast. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Elvi Gray-Jackson talks with Ernie Hall before the start of the meeting. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Adam Trombley talks with Anchorage mayor Dan Sullivan. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
The lobby outside Assembly Chambers holds an overflow audience. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester
Butch McCoy, a street maintenance operator, listens to discussion of amendments to labor relations proposal. The Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance take away the power of city government unions to strike or have binding arbitration, eliminate performance bonuses or incentives and limit raises to a maximum of 1 percent over the five-year average of Anchorage's inflation rate. It would standardize health benefits.
Marc Lester

The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska believes Tuesday night's Assembly vote on a rewrite of city labor law was improper due to the way public testimony was handled but will hold off on legal action, ACLU executive director Jeffrey Mittman said Wednesday.

Mittman said that's because Assembly chairman Ernie Hall has assured the ACLU he will sponsor an ordinance within 30 days to set clear standards on when public hearings will be closed.

"That's correct," Hall said in an interview. "I'm definitely going to get into city code clarity on how we handle public testimony."

He said he's anxious to get provisions put into code "so this question never arises again."

The Assembly Tuesday night approved a rewrite of city labor laws that diminishes the power of city unions -- and is hugely controversial.

There had been four five-hour public hearings on the issue.

Before the last one on March 11, the Assembly voted to shut down public testimony at 11 p.m. March 11. An opinion from the city attorney's office said that would be legal.

But Mittman warned the Assembly that in the view of the ACLU, the city charter guarantees everyone present and waiting to testify the right to testify.

At 11 p.m. March 11, many people were still standing in line waiting to testify, and the Assembly did close the hearing without letting them speak.

"Rather than immediately proceed with litigation, the ACLU is willing to delay action based on specific assurances that the Assembly will address this situation within the next 30 days," the ACLU said in a written statement Wednesday.

"Our focus is always on the free speech issue," Mittman said. "That's what we want fixed."

"We understand people are upset about AO-37 (the labor law rewrite). But what we have to focus on is the constitutional issues," he said.

Hall said he and Mittman agreed on a process that would work like this: For any issue that's drawing extensive public testimony, people would come to the Assembly for the first hearing and put their names on a list to testify. "You extend testimony long enough to hear from them," Hall said.

That may not be exactly what the public testimony law will say, but the plan will provide a clear process and a consistent way of handling public hearings, Hall said.

 

Reach Rosemary Shinohara at rshinohara@adn.com or 257-4340.

 

 


By ROSEMARY SHINOHARA
rshinohara@adn.com