Anchorage's chief information technology director is making a surprise run for mayor.
Lance Ahern submitted paperwork with the city clerk's office on Friday. Ahern, who has served as the city's IT director since 2011, said he has been considering a run for some time.
"I think I can help make the city work better. I think I can help improve it," Ahern said, reached by phone Saturday. He said he will be outlining his ideas for the city in more detail in the coming days.
He said he also plans to provide more detail on his involvement with the city's troubled SAP technology project, which has been plagued by management issues and cost overruns.
"Obviously that's going to come up," Ahern said of the project.
On Friday, after spending multiple hours in a meeting about SAP, Ahern walked "straight over to the clerk's office" and submitted the paperwork, he said. Then he told Mayor Dan Sullivan of his decision.
Ahern, 54, has spent more than 30 years in the IT field, including founding his own startups. Prior to his appointment by Sullivan, Ahern served as a data processing manager for the Alaska Department of Public Safety.
He acknowledged Saturday that his candidacy was unexpected. Other than running for president of his freshman class at MIT (he came in second), this is Ahern's first time seeking public office.
"Everybody's shocked, and that's fine," Ahern said.
He joins 11 other candidates for mayor, according to the list maintained by the clerk's office.