Nepotism code waived for fire chief

Posted: Thursday, August 27, 2009

ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage Assembly approved a waiver to the city code that will allow Mark Hall to become fire chief even though he has two nephews in the department.

The 6-4 vote Tuesday night on the nepotism issue clears the way for Mayor Dan Sullivan's choice to take over the department.

A city law prevents the employment of relatives by city executives. Sullivan asked the assembly to waive that requirement and approve Hall as chief, saying Hall won't directly supervise his nephews.

"The law is very strict in its requirements," Sullivan said. "So every now and then we'll come across a circumstance where a waiver is appropriate. We feel in this case it absolutely is."

Those who voted against the waiver took issue with the special exception.

"Changing the rules because it's inconvenient for one person, I chafe at that," said assembly member Mike Gutierrez. "I also chafe at the suggestion there is any political muscle being flexed because I don't think we'd find anybody up here who's expressed any trepidation about Mr. Hall as fire chief."

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