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
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.
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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