Mayor-elect LaFrance chooses municipal manager and chief of staff

Anchorage Mayor-elect Suzanne LaFrance on Monday announced she is appointing Becky Windt Pearson, a former municipal attorney, and Katie Scovic, her campaign manager, to top leadership roles in her administration.

Windt Pearson will serve as Anchorage municipal manager, and Scovic will be LaFrance’s chief of staff.

Monday’s announcement marks LaFrance’s first executive appointments since winning the mayoral runoff last month against incumbent Dave Bronson. LaFrance will take office July 1.

In a written statement, LaFrance said Windt Pearson and Scovic “not only bring expertise and experience to the table, but also a deep commitment to work collaboratively and improve our community.”

Windt Pearson led the city’s Department of Law as municipal attorney from 2017 to 2020 in the administration of Ethan Berkowitz. She oversaw the $1 billion sale of the city’s former electric utility, Municipal Light & Power, to Chugach Electric Association.

She left the role in early 2020 for a job as general counsel with GCI, where she is a senior vice president, general counsel and chief administrative officer, according to the news release. Windt Pearson earned her law degree from Yale Law School, according to the release.

Windt Pearson previously served for two years as chair of the city’s Board of Ethics, which advises on the Municipal Code of Ethics for public officials and city employees. The board investigates potential ethics violations, helps resolve conflicts and develops ethics trainings.


Windt Pearson will replace current municipal manager Kent Kohlhase, who has worked in various leadership positions with the city since 2013. Bronson promoted Kohlhase to the position after firing former municipal manager Amy Demboski in 2022.

It’s not yet clear whether Kohlhase will move to a different role or leave the municipality. A spokesman for LaFrance’s transition said that she has met with Kohlhase and Windt Pearson, and that they “are exploring other roles for Kent at the municipality.”

LaFrance appreciates his “invaluable perspective on the state of the Municipality, and what it will take to address pressing challenges like staffing levels and financial accounting,” said the spokesman.

After LaFrance assumes office, Windt Pearson will face an Assembly vote on whether to confirm her as municipal manager.

Assembly Chair Christopher Constant said he is excited about Windt Pearson’s return. Constant was first elected in 2017, serving on the Assembly throughout Windt Pearson’s time as municipal attorney. She’s “very professional, really talented and has a big picture understanding of the complete operation of the city,” he said.

The municipal manager is a key role in city government, overseeing day-to-day operations and most city departments and divisions, including fire, police, health, library, parks and recreation, public transportation, the city’s utilities and the Port of Alaska.

The city’s current municipal manager is paid an annual salary of about $159,785, while Bronson’s chief of staff is paid about $142,542 according to the most recent executive compensation report.

The chief of staff position is appointed solely by the mayor and does not receive an Assembly confirmation vote.

Scovic, who most recently managed LaFrance’s campaign for mayor, has also worked for the municipality. In 2021, under former acting mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson, Scovic was communications director. Quinn-Davidson, a former Anchorage Assembly member, was nominated to the mayoral office by the Assembly and led the city for about eight months following the 2020 resignation of Berkowitz.

After her role with the city, Scovic spent two years working for local consulting firm Agnew Beck. She’s worked for Cook Inlet Housing Authority as a policy analyst and as associate director of community development and homeless initiatives. Scovic has a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Northwestern University, according to the news release.

Between November and May, the LaFrance campaign paid Scovic about $44,000 for campaign management and communications support, according to campaign expenditure reports filed with the state.

With just about three weeks to prepare for office, LaFrance has said she’s focused on building a team of “qualified, competent, ethical people who are passionate about our community.”

“These two women reflect the effective, problem-solving team it will take to tackle the big challenges in front of us,” LaFrance said in the news release.

LaFrance, a former Assembly member and chair, is the first woman elected as Anchorage’s mayor. Quinn-Davidson was the first woman to serve in the role.

She will take office at a time when the city is experiencing high employee vacancy rates in several departments, including police. LaFrance has said she will also prioritize tackling ongoing issues with public safety and homelessness, including coming up with a plan for year-round shelter.

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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