Mayor Bronson refuses to turn over documents in Anchorage Assembly subpoena

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson said Thursday he will not comply with a subpoena from the Assembly chair, refusing to hand over and make public internal investigation documents into the hiring and tenure of former Health Department Director Joe Gerace.

After twice before issuing subpoenas to the administration, Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance on Tuesday issued a third subpoena directly to Bronson in a final demand for the documents.

Now that the mayor has refused the final subpoena, the Assembly’s attorneys will take the matter to court, Assembly leaders say.

Bronson, in a letter to LaFrance on Thursday, cited privacy rights in the Alaska Constitution and city code protecting personnel records of current and former city staff.

“The Municipality will not waive the constitutional rights of its employees, and consequently will not make the personnel records of any employee or former employee publicly available in the absence of authorization from the affected employee or an order from a court of competent jurisdiction,” Bronson said. “Mr. Gerace has not authorized their release to the public, and there is no court order to release them.”

It’s not clear why any information in the administration’s reports would be privileged personnel information, LaFrance said.

”I don’t know why they wouldn’t redact it and provide a log,” LaFrance said. “I mean, it is in the interest of the public, of the municipality, to share that information. It’s really puzzling. If it were me, and something like that happened, I would want to show everybody that a thorough investigation, a really good investigation, had been done. And so the fact that there has been nothing, and there’s been absolutely no explanation as to why they’re asserting this privilege, it’s a little bit perplexing.”


[Bronson officials considering Centennial Campground, Sullivan Arena as options for Anchorage homeless residents this summer]

Bronson’s refusal to comply with the subpoena is the latest development in an ongoing controversy that began in August, when Gerace resigned — departing just ahead of the publication of an Alaska Public Media and American Public Media report that found he’d fabricated and exaggerated details on his resumes.

Soon after, Bronson announced the administration would conduct an internal investigation led by the municipal manager’s office and the human resources department — led also by officials who oversaw Gerace’s hiring. Assembly leaders also launched their own inquiry into the matter.

LaFrance’s first subpoena in January brought former Human Resources director Niki Tshibaka to a closed-door session with Assembly members. After that, members called for the administration to make the documents public, saying the report they saw contained little, if any, new information that hadn’t already become public.

Assembly leaders and several other members say the public deserves answers, and called the closed-door session a farce designed to keep the public in the dark. They also said that the administration’s report at that meeting shows that its internal investigation was not a true, in-depth investigation and offers few answers.

LaFrance issued another subpoena earlier this month to Tshibaka, ordering him to produce the documents publicly. He abruptly resigned the day before the subpoena required him to turn them over.

Bronson officials have repeatedly refused to publicly release them, saying they contain confidential personnel information.

Then last week, Assembly members authorized Assembly attorneys to begin litigation to ask a court to compel Bronson officials to publicly release the reports and comply with the subpoenas.

It’s not yet clear when litigation between the Assembly and Bronson administration will begin, or what that process will entail, Assembly leaders say.

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Emily Goodykoontz

Emily Goodykoontz is a reporter covering Anchorage local government and general assignments. She previously covered breaking news at The Oregonian in Portland before joining ADN in 2020. Contact her at