Alaska mayor sworn in while on vacation in Hawaii

The mayor of Alaska's largest city, Anchorage, took his oath of office on Monday from Hawaii, where he was on vacation.
Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, seen on screen, with his wife, Lynette, takes the oath of office for his second term via a video link from Honolulu, as it is administered by Judge Brian Clark. (Rachel D'Oro/Associated Press)

Residents of Alaska’s largest city were met with overcast skies and temperatures of 14 degrees Celsius on Monday as their mayor took the oath of office not in the northern state, but in sunny Honolulu, where it was a hot 27C.

Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan wore a splashy Hawaiian shirt for his swearing-in.

Sullivan had a previously scheduled family vacation and reunion in Hawaii, where his wife has family. The city calls for a mayor to be sworn in on July 1 or as soon thereafter as practical. But Sullivan doesn't return to Alaska until July 16.

To meet the July 1 requirement, Sullivan arranged to have a live video link established between Anchorage City Hall and a lawyer's office in Honolulu, where he took the oath of office for his second term as mayor. Sullivan was re-elected in April.

"It' really an honour for me today to be able to share this experience with my Hawaiian family and friends," Sullivan said moments before the brief swearing-in. "I'm very pleased that we're able to have this technology."

A state judge administered the oath, and Sullivan repeated it in Hawaii. Once that was completed, he and his wife Lynnette donned leis.

Afterward, he took questions from reporters attending the video broadcast in Anchorage at the mayor's city hall conference room. Asked why the family trip was scheduled when it was, Sullivan said the family reunion involved "a lot of different moving parts" and it was easier for him to arrange his schedule rather than have numerous people arrange theirs.

"And it really doesn't matter where you do the swearing-in, what room you're in or where you're located," he said. "What really matters is the words that you swear and affirm to."

City officials said the long-distance oath is in line with municipal law, which does not address long-distance oaths.

Anchorage city assembly member Chris Birch said he had no problem with the manner chosen. He said teleconferencing is a long-established practice in business and government in the modern world.

"I think it's great," he said.