Metropolis human assets director resigns, citing ‘demoralizing work atmosphere’

Niki Tshibaka, town’s former human assets director, in 2019. (Marc Lester / ADN)

Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson’s human assets director, Niki Tshibaka, abruptly resigned Monday, citing “an more and more poisonous, hostile, and demoralizing work atmosphere.” His departure is the newest in a string of resignations and firings of high officers in Bronson’s administration.

Tshibaka, who has been concerned a collection of personnel controversies and allegations towards the Bronson administration, attributed his departure to a worsening hostile work atmosphere.

In a letter to Bronson on Monday, Tshibaka wrote, “I can now not proceed to serve in what has turn into an more and more poisonous, hostile, and demoralizing work atmosphere, making the optimistic progress and ahead momentum the individuals of Anchorage deserve and anticipate of this Administration just about unimaginable.”

His resignation was efficient instantly, the letter stated.

Lawyer Kevin Fitzgerald offered the Day by day Information with a replica of Tshibaka’s letter. Neither Tshibaka nor Fitzgerald could possibly be reached Monday by the Day by day Information.

Bronson didn’t instantly reply to questions on Tshibaka’s resignation, however late Tuesday issued a written assertion saying, “To be clear, former Human Sources Director Niki Tshibaka was not requested or inspired by any member of the Administration or Municipality to resign. Mr. Tshibaka resigned on his personal volition for the explanations acknowledged in his letter. I wish to thank Mr. Tshibaka for his service to the Municipality.”

Raylene Griffith, the division’s labor relations director, will function performing director of human assets, the mayor’s workplace stated.


Tshibaka has been on the heart of an Anchorage Meeting investigation into the administration’s hiring of former Well being Division Director Joe Gerace, who fabricated particulars on his resume to town. The Meeting’s chair issued a subpoena to Tshibaka and held a closed-door session over the difficulty in January.

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Tshibaka can also be on the heart of a wrongful termination lawsuit towards town by the previous director of Anchorage’s Workplace of Equal Alternative, Heather MacAlpine. MacAlpine says she was fired for investigating complaints made towards a library official who Tshibaka protected.

Bronson’s administration has been rocked with upheaval within the aftermath of his firing in December of former metropolis supervisor, Amy Demboski. She later issued a scathing letter accusing Bronson and members of his administration of unethical conduct and misconduct.

Bronson has repeatedly declined to debate Demboski’s allegations.

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Since November, town’s Ombudsman Workplace has acquired a dozen or extra complaints from present and former metropolis staff alleging a hostile work atmosphere, ombudsman Darrel Hess instructed the Day by day Information in an interview final week.

Hess, who has labored as ombudsman for a bit of over 10 years, stated he’s seen extra hostile work atmosphere complaints over the past 12 months “than the opposite 9 years put collectively.”

In January, Hess referred to metropolis prosecutors allegations by metropolis workers that the mayor’s workplace or one of many mayor’s executives might have interfered together with his investigation into alleged misconduct. The town lawyer’s workplace forwarded the memo to the state Division of Legislation.

In his memo, Hess wrote that “there might have been a breach of obligation, misconduct, or criminality.”

Bronson’s deputy chief of workers, Brice Wilbanks, abruptly resigned that week.

A number of days later, town’s performing metropolis lawyer, Blair Christensen, additionally resigned, efficient Feb. 8.

Demboski, in her letter, accused the mayor of encouraging and condoning a hostile work atmosphere. She additionally accused Tshibaka and the mayor of taking no motion after she reported to them {that a} senior workers member had handed out “genitalia-shaped cookies” to workers within the Metropolis Corridor office.

Tshibaka didn’t reply questions on her declare despatched to him by the Day by day Information on Friday and once more on Monday, earlier than the mayor’s workplace introduced his resignation.

The mayor’s workplace additionally didn’t reply questions in regards to the cookies and any disciplinary motion towards the senior workers member from Bronson or Tshibaka.

MacAlpine, the previous director of the equal alternative workplace, was fired in Might whereas she was investigating worker office complaints a few hostile work atmosphere involving the Anchorage Public Library and its deputy director, Judy Eledge.

Library staff had complained to Hess and MacAlpine of a hostile work atmosphere and alleged that Eledge had made racist statements and different derogatory remarks.


Niki Tshibaka listens to former president Donald J. Trump converse throughout a rally on the Alaska Airways Middle in Anchorage on Saturday, July 9, 2022. (Invoice Roth / ADN)

MacAlpine stated Tshibaka, whereas serving as human assets director, later wore a T-shirt to a library advisory board assembly supporting Eledge, printed with the textual content, “I’m with Judy.” MacAlpine’s grievance says Tshibaka’s T-shirt helps her declare that she was fired over her investigation.

In July, town answered MacAlpine’s grievance. Metropolis attorneys denied that Eledge made racist statements and disputed that MacAlpine had been fired for performing as a whistleblower.

In August, Hess really useful that Tshibaka be “walled off” from any involvement with library personnel complaints and that he now not be part of library hiring panels.

After questioning Tshibaka final month over Gerace’s hiring and Tshibaka’s written report of the administration’s inside investigation, Anchorage Meeting leaders stated they weren’t happy. They known as on the administration to launch the report and stated it contained little data that wasn’t already public.

Tshibaka, in his resignation letter on Monday, stated that he’d been directed to vet and onboard Gerace with a “sooner or later enterprise turnaround.” He didn’t say who gave him that route.

The Human Sources Division operates underneath the Workplace of the Municipal Supervisor and Workplace of the Mayor, in accordance with town’s organizational chart. Amongst different duties, it’s “liable for assuring compliance with all employment associated guidelines, laws, legal guidelines and agreements,” in accordance with its web site.

Gerace resigned in August, simply forward of the publication of an investigation by Alaska Public Media and American Public Media reporting he had fabricated or exaggerated credentials and work historical past on his resume to town.

Former colleagues and staff of Gerace made a number of accusations towards him, together with some involving his credentials, because the Meeting weighed his affirmation. Tshibaka on the time publicly defended Gerace, calling the accusations false and an try at “character assassination.”


In his resignation letter, Tshibaka stated Bronson’s government appointments had been vetted with longstanding division coverage and procedures. In 2022, the division started addressing “dozens of initiatives to enhance, streamline and/or modernize our division’s operations,” he stated.

Till Monday, Tshibaka had been one of many few executives remaining from Bronson’s preliminary roster of high officers. Greater than half of the chief staff Bronson introduced as he took workplace has since departed.

At present, a number of metropolis departments and places of work are working with out a long-term chief, and high government positions are being crammed by officers working in a short lived, performing capability. These embody the performing municipal lawyer, performing municipal supervisor and performing well being division director.

Tshibaka’s short-term alternative, Griffith, has 13 years of expertise working for the municipality and has “served in a wide range of roles” within the Human Sources Division, in accordance with the mayor’s workplace.

Tshibaka is married to Kelly Tshibaka, who final 12 months unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate towards Republican incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

He’s an ordained minister, a graduate of Harvard Legislation College and labored as an lawyer for greater than three years within the U.S. Division of Justice in Washington, D.C., in accordance with his resume. He grew up within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Tshibakas moved to Anchorage in 2019 when Kelly Tshibaka, who grew up in Alaska, was employed in Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration. Niki Tshibaka took a job in a newly created place as assistant commissioner within the Alaska Division of Training.

The ADN’s Kyle Hopkins contributed.