GOP-appointed library official said Alaska Natives would 'be living in caves' without 'the white man and his oil': report
Judy Eledge ( Official photo via Anchorage Public Library)

According to a report from the Anchorage Daily News, a library appointee handed her job by Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson (R) is causing no shortage of headaches for him with the public library currently in the throes of an "exodus" of employees due to her creation of a "toxic" work atmosphere.

The report notes that the city’s Office of Equal Opportunity is investigating claims that deputy director Judy Eledge has been making disturbing comments to staffers, including former library Assistant Director Jacob Cole who alleged she told him "If it weren’t for the white man and his oil the natives would still be living in caves."

In an email to the office, Cole recalled that Eledge also complained about "white guilt and white apologists," with the former official adding, "The things that Judy Eledge has said that have shocked and disturbed me are many but these are the ones I can best remember.”

ADN's Zachariah Hughes and Emily Goodykoontz reported, "Since Eledge began heading the library, first as its director and then after stepping down to become its deputy director, complaints from employees about the library’s leadership have poured in — to Assembly members, to the city’s recently fired director of the Office of Equal Opportunity, and to the city’s ombudsman, Darrel Hess."

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According to Hess, who admitted that eight different employees have made complaints, "I’ve never seen that many employees in one department make these types of allegations.”

"The email describing the racist remarks surfaced as officials were already raising concerns about the library. The chair of the Anchorage Assembly said members are likely to raise questions about management during a pre-scheduled Friday work session on staffing issues at the department," the report states. "In a letter obtained by the Daily News, the Library Advisory Board said that Eledge misrepresented the extent of staffing shortages and that the administration’s lack of communication is hampering its work."

"After the board asked for library staffing information from Eledge, she provided data in March that was nine months old, undercounting the degree to which critical positions in the library system are not filled, [advisory board chair Cristy] Willer said. According to the board’s calculations, at least 24 positions were vacant, including from among senior management," the report continued.

Eledge has been a controversial appointment since the beginning, reportedly serving despite a lack of a library science degree and in light of previous allegations of racist comments including once writing, "How sad people of color seem to have no self esteem! If so why all the focus on color?”

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