An acting mayor had to be found quickly after a relationship between Mayor Berkowitz and a journalist was revealed while Berkowitz was married. The mayor preferred to resign.
The City Charter provides that in such a situation, the chair of the Assembly be appointed as acting mayor pending the next municipal election, and in the case of Anchorage, this appointment was a landmark event in the city’s history.
Austin Quinn-Davidson, a 40-year-old openly lesbian lawyer who was elected to the Anchorage Assembly in 2018, was first propelled to the position of chair in place of Felix Rivera and then confirmed as the city’s acting mayor.
But for how long? There are three options:
- either she remains acting mayor until a special election is held in January 2021 (90 days after Berkowitz’s resignation);
- or until July 2021, at which time a new mayor would take office after being elected in the regular election scheduled for April
- but who knows, maybe Quinn-Davidson will run for mayor
In any case, Austin Quinn-Davidson is the new mayor of Anchorage. She becomes the very first woman and the very first openly gay person to be appointed to this position in the city.