The ancient shopping mall serving as the Ark is currently in the midst of spring thaw. The winter was harsh, and horrible. Gangers in cars & bikes decimated the Ark.
The raiders killed a quarter of the occupants (about 100, leaving roughly 300), including all but one of the Elders. The water supply (the mall's central fountain) was damaged. All Ark improvements were destroyed. Any weapons or supplies the raiders could find were taken. During the winter another 100 died from starvation, exposure, and beast attacks.
The remaining Elder is more of a bane than a boon. He is a cowardly moron, who was not a leader before the attack. (The True Elders fought to the death to protect the People.) He is an idiot, with no sense of leadership beyond, "I'm the leader so people must do what I say".
His name is Wosnalic and he is more than a little senile. He knows he is in charge (at least he thinks so), so he gives orders. A cult of mutant followers has surrounded him, giving his useless commands some teeth in the Ark.
Various bosses arose to fill the leadership gaps and provide necessities to the People. The puppet Elder and the mutant that prop him up despise this challenge to their leadership and place a higher priority on crushing the upstarts over providing for the People.