Willing to listen?

Posted: Friday, February 14, 2003

My wife commented that she is more concerned about what is occurring in Juneau than ever before in our 40 years as Alaskans. I concur.

Our governor has stated that he hasn't issued a gag order to his employees. Yet, inquiries are referred by local staff to the governor's press secretary. Sounds similar to, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman!" How naive does he believe us to be?

What has happened to the leadership style of surrounding oneself with professional staff, providing them the tools to do their job and then getting out of their way? It appears our governor trusts nobody (not even newly appointed commissioners), is listening to only what he wishes to hear, and is a micro-manager. The job is much too large for this approach. Hopefully, the governor understands that much of the input provided by political party leaders and transition team members is of very limited perspective and is highly biased. Broad-based input by educated professionals is vital to healthy decision making.

The governor says he plans to move the highly efficient permitting staff of the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) to the bureaucracy of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. This is being done under the guise of permitting efficiency. Five former ADF&G commissioners advised the governor to avoid such a hasty major change. Why would a new governor not listen to such extensive past experience? Wouldn't it be far more prudent for the governor to appoint a new ADF&G commissioner of his liking who could address the governor's concerns rather than, or prior to, making an extreme change to the administrative process that could prove to be highly detrimental to our commercial fishing and other industries?

I believe the majority of Alaskans want development to occur in a conscientious fashion. To achieve the desired balance we need a governor who will listen to his professional staff. To establish a long-standing public benefit, a wise leader must first listen. Governor, are you willing to listen?

Scott Grundy


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