The mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, announced his resignation Tuesday, a day after he admitted to a "consensual, inappropriate messaging relationship" with a local news anchor. Ethan Berkowitz will step down effective Oct. 23, the Anchorage Daily News reports. "It is with profound sadness and humility that I resign as Mayor of the Municipality of Anchorage," he said in a statement read by his chief of staff at a meeting of the Anchorage Assembly that Berkowitz did not attend. "My resignation results from unacceptable personal conduct that has compromised my ability to perform my duties with the focus and trust that is required. I know my conduct has done great injury to my family, my staff, to Municipal employees, and to the people of our community, and for that, I am deeply sorry."
The audience in the chambers cheered as the statement was read until the chair told them to stop. Alaska Public Media reports that the assembly had been due to consider whether to extend Berkowitz's emergency powers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and notes that his exit leaves a "leadership void" as coronavirus cases mount in the city. The city's municipal manager had announced at the meeting that top city officials had determined "it would be untenable for the mayor to continue in his role," and that Berkowitz had independently come to the same conclusion. The chair of the assembly will serve as interim mayor until a special election is held to replace Berkowitz. (More on the situation here.)