SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Bristol Bay is burned out
By Cindy Roque


April 01, 2008

When a lightbulb is burned out in our homes, we change it - and things are bright once again. I'm afraid some of the brightness of Bristol Bay has burned out and it's all in the face of the economic & energy crisis that has silently sneaked up upon us and is holding us captive. Our communities are blowing away in the cold wind around us as life long residents of Bristol Bay are migrating out of the Bay.

As we move into the spring and attend various meetings throughout Bristol Bay, we need to remember that sometimes people burn out like lightbulbs. Sometimes we need change. It's imperative that everyone's voices be heard in this region we love. We vote for leadership to represent us at levels including tribes, villages and communities. Our elected officials are then challenged with carrying out the organization's mission statements. It's a time consuming, & can be an ungrateful position if the board is an uncompensated board. But, many of the Bristol Bay Boards pay lucrative stipends, per diems, attendance fees & are enhanced with perks. In Bristol Bay, I've learned that many of these boards spin off into other opportunities in state, federal & even private corporation roles which mean more meetings out of town & more perks. It can become a full time job. Often the membership they were elected to serve aren't even aware the various spin off organizations their elected
official is attending.

While many Bristol Bay Boards and committees pay lucrative stipends to their elected officials, I have a public challenge to make. I challenge any board or committee member receiving a stipend for their leadership role in Bristol Bay to donate it back to Bristol Bay for their grandchildren. Imagine turning those consulting dollars into an Endowment to reinvest in Bristol Bay's future! Imagine putting a community center or swimming pool in every village in Bristol Bay all from the proceeds of Bristol Bay Leaders. It could simply be started by opening a bank account and depositing your consulting fee check in it.

Bristol Bay has all it needs for success - we have intelligence, we have commitment, we have renewable resources. We have state services and agencies that are obligated to serve the public. We have corporations that promote health, social services and economic development that the state and federal government has literally poured millions of dollars into. Those corporations that have carefully crafted mission statements that founding fathers put a lot of sweat and probably blood into when they dreaming up the organizations. During these troubled times, let's simply go back to the mission statements & evaluate leadership. As a resident of Bristol Bay, ask your elected officials what kind of compensation they receive serving you and ask them what the plan for survial is for the people of Bristol Bay.

Boards and committees can meet daily and talk about the problems of the region, we can do it for years and years and continue to into the next decade, but if we don't pursue action plans and listen to those we serve to carry out mission statements, its time and history our region's losing for our grandchildren.

Cindy Roque
Dillingham, AK

About: "Ms. Roque is a 24 year resident of Bristol Bay Alaska and work with the State of Alaska & in public service for 20 of those years. She currently winters in Seattle. "

Received April 01, 2008 - Published April 01, 2008


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Ketchikan, Alaska