Commissioners not ones who answer the phones


Posted: Wednesday, December 20, 2000

While focusing on the "Oh no, they are going to try to move the Capitol" panic, the real picture has been pushed into the shadows. It should not go unnoticed when the governor appoints a commissioner who does not reside full time in Juneau. However, there are times when having a commissioner closer to the industry or constituency their department deals with most, is appropriate.

Alaska is one of the most wired states in the country, communication should not be an obstacle to carrying on the business of providing public services to the citizens of Alaska no matter where a commissioner may be on a given day. What is being overlooked is the fact that it is the rank and file state employees who provide the direct services to Alaskans. The governor's cabinet may direct the state's business on paper, but it is classified state employees who provide the services, with hard work and dedication every day.

When you go to renew your Alaska Driver's License, do you really care if the commissioner of Administration is in Juneau that day? When you call to get assistance with your application for a state of Alaska business license do you check to see if the commissioner of Community and Economic Development is in? I didn't think so. You don't have to, because a dedicated state employee is behind the counter or answering the telephone.

Commissioners will come and go, but it is dedicated state employees living and working right here in Juneau who serve the citizens of Alaska every day. So, with the energy you might expend worrying about where the next new commissioner might live, let the governor, legislators and your friends in other parts of the state know that they can count on prompt, professional public service coming out of Juneau. With full funding of state-employee contracts, buildings that are maintained properly and acknowledgment that the Capitol is not just the building at 4th and Main, but the citizens of Juneau who take pride in our role as public servants to all Alaskans it will be this way for a long time to come.

Mary Graham


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