Alaska Governor Bill Walker, a Democrat, called on Tuesday for the Anchorage mayor, Ethan Berkowitz, to resign for having an inappropriate relationship with a local TV anchor, but Mr. Berkowitz countered that his resignation was being forced and said he had never directed the anchor to her current position or undermined her reporting.
In a statement released on Monday evening, Mr. Berkowitz said the relationship had ended in March and that he had only recently learned about the relationship. “However, that was long before I knew of her status,” he said. “There is no basis to suggest that I urged her to be on air or otherwise harmed her career.”
Mr. Walker, a Democrat, praised Mr. Berkowitz’s work as mayor, saying he appreciated his “leadership on a number of key projects that are at the top of Alaskans’ minds.” He said he asked Mr. Berkowitz to resign because of the disclosures in the Alaska Dispatch News.
On Tuesday, Mr. Walker tweeted, “I want to thank Ethan Berkowitz for his service and am disappointed he did not offer me his resignation sooner.” He also said Mr. Berkowitz had “failed our state.”
Mr. Berkowitz said he had never attempted to influence or cover up an affair with the anchor, an anchorwoman at the Alaska Dispatch News who subsequently wrote a letter to Mr. Berkowitz on Sunday stating that the relationship was “sexual in nature.”
“While my actions since my return to Anchorage after being ousted from the Assembly over a decade ago have been personal, legally and morally right,” Mr. Berkowitz said, “the overwhelming misconduct in so many levels has me accountable for it.”