on Elections and Municipal
Officials and Administration
the qualifications for being on a borough assembly or city
to run for municipal office, a candidate must meet the
voter qualifications found in AS
29.26.050. These qualifications are:
to vote in state elections;
- a resident
of the municipality for 30 days immediately preceding
the election; and
to vote at an address within the municipality for 30
days before the election.
of the governing body who no longer meets the qualifications
for being a voter immediately forfeits office (AS
same qualifications apply to the office of mayor in a borough
or first class city. In addition to the qualifications
already listed, the mayor of a second class city must be
a member of the city council (AS
municipality may by ordinance establish district and
residency duration requirements not to exceed
three years (AS 29.20.140(b)(c)); however, this has been
challenged in court and found to be excessive (Peloza
vs. Freas (871
P.2d 687 (Alaska 1994)) (see "FindLaw").
As a result of this court decision, the residency standard
is now one year. In the case of a second class city,
must also be a council member. An assembly member may
not be elected or appointed by and from a city council
members are on a city council or borough assembly?
first class city has six council members, plus a mayor.
A second class
city has seven council members and the mayor is elected by
and from the council (AS
AS 29.20.230). An assembly determines
its method of representation consistent with the equal
standards of the
U.S. Constitution, its incorporation documents, and local
29.20.060 - 070).
What is the
process for electing the governing body?
elects the governing body to the assembly or council at
a yearly municipal
election conducted under the provisions
of the municipality's election
procedure and state law. The municipal election is usually
held in October, unless a different date is provided by
ordinance (AS 29.26.040). The
mayor, except for the mayor of a second class city, is
elected at this time also. The mayor of a second class
city is elected by and from the council rather than by
the public (AS
the legislative (governing) body do?
body serves at the pleasure of the public and manages policy
and formulates the principles that guide the local government.
The legislative body manages money for the public benefit,
manages personnel for the public benefit, and provides services
and capital improvements deemed appropriate by the public.
the governing body do business?
of a governmental body is public information and must be conducted
in the public forum through the open meetings process, unless
the subject matter fits an exception allowed by law (AS
44.62.310). The governing body is required to take
action through a set process spelled out in state law (AS
29.20.010, 29.20.020 and 29.20.160) and local ordinances
allowing for maximum public input and involvement.
If less than
the full governing body is at a meeting called for the purpose
of conducting business of the governing body, can they take
action on a matter before them?
Yes, but only
if the number of members present constitutes a quorum and
the vote is equal to or greater than the majority of the total
membership. As an example, if five city council members are
present, and four vote yes on a motion, the motion can go
forward. If only three vote yes, the motion cannot go forward
What is the
quorum requirement for first and second class cities?
A quorum is
the majority of the total membership of the governing
body. For first and second class cities, the quorum requirement
is four (AS
a municipality require that a candidate for municipal
office meet certain residency requirements before being
elected to office?
the Alaska Supreme Court found that the residency requirement
allowed in statute (AS
29.20.140(b)) of up to three
years is excessive and that any residency requirement longer
than one year is problematic and violates the equal rights
clause of the Alaska Constitution (Peloza v. Freas (871 P.2d
687 (Alaska 1994)).
Does a candidate
for municipal office have to fill out a financial disclosure
Unless the municipality has exempted itself from the Public
Financial Disclosure Law (AS 39.50.145), all
candidates must fill out the form and file it when they file
for office. It is important to note that this only exempts
the official from filing the financial disclosure; it
does not exempt the official from the provisions of AS
29.20.010 regarding declaration of a conflict of interest. For more information
on the Financial Disclosure Law, please see the Alaska
Public Offices Commission (APOC).
of voting on an issue before the governing body, is the mayor
a member of the governing body?
The mayor of
a borough or a first class city with a manager form of government
may only vote on a matter before the governing body in case
of a tie. The mayor of a second class city is a member of
the council and may vote on all matters before the council
In the case of a home rule municipality, unless there is another provision of law that prohibits a home rule municipality from acting otherwise, the process spelled out in the home rule charter applies. As an example, AS 29.20.250(b) states that the mayor of a first class city can only vote in case of a tie; therefore, a mayor would not vote on any issue unless there is a tie. The provisions of AS 29.20.250(b), however, are not made applicable to a home rule municipality and neither is the power to act otherwise limited by AS 29.10.200. Therefore, the mayor’s vote may be determined by home rule charter.