Behind the Landscape on Alaska's Politics & Culture


February 6, 2014

Officials first; Anchorage last: City leaders put themselves first before Anchorage

Sleeping man

Is sleeping at the helm okay with you?

Laissez-faire leadership leads to overspending, resulting in the mayor asking the Anchorage Assembly for an extra $1.8 million to cover overtime expenses. According to city management public employees were taking leave and vacations at the same time, causing limited staffing levels.

Do union contracts state that employees must take off at the same time? Do managers make the decisions that develop work schedules? The former is, NO; the latter is managers are making those decisions creating the overtime.

A laissez-faire leader is hard to think as being a leader. The aim of the leader is to avoid influencing subordinates and allow them to have a great deal of autonomy and authority. In city operations laissez-faire management starts from the top down is a determent to the organization. It fosters chaos at the bottom. Subordinates gain the advantage over the day-day process. Multiple vacations and leave requests during the same period are allowed because managers are in a laissez-faire environment created by its leader, and overtime is created.

Laissez-faire leadership is a leader not engaged with its employees. No work for the leader so the leader can concentrate on self-interested endeavors, like campaigning for another job. Frustration forces others into leadership roles and allows city visionary workers the opportunity to do what they want to do, free from interference.  But those opportunities at the lower level lack flexibility with city union contracts.

Mixing the Mayor’s Laissez-faire leadership with public union’s the result becomes lethal. Less group satisfaction, less group productivity, poorer quality of work, less personal growth, jobs fall back on someone else or are not completed; and the taxpayer ultimately pays for the mismanagement.

Anchorage must come first!

About the Author

Chief Editor
Paul Bauer has served in various positions on Anchorage community boards, commissions and councils in and out of elected office with over a decade of business management experience after serving 22 years of national service. His background includes living in and visiting many diverse communities around the United States, Europe with small excursions to the Pacific that had him working with culturally diverse groups of people most of his life. As an Assembly Member he was one Member that voted against Mayor Mark Begich's costly budget increase; the largest spending budgets in the city's history; raising awareness to get a public discussion on illegal immigration in the city and removing the city's "Sanctuary City" status; bringing public awareness of the Mayor's lavish spending and his conflict of interest with his family's gift shop on the “E Street” road improvement project.



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