Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

 
 

Editorial

 


Biologists say this fall’s coho return looks to be a strong one. That means we’ll likely see scores of Yukon fishermen camped along the Chilkat River.

The Haines Borough should consider a proposal made last year by Mayor Stephanie Scott to provide vouchers for a bag of complimentary trash disposal. This is how it might work. A borough employee would drive up the highway on Saturday morning, handing out vouchers to campers or sliding them under windshield wipers. With the coupon, a visitor could bring a bag of trash to a designated spot in town Saturday evening.

Coupons would add an incentive for anglers to come into town, and would keep our roadsides and riversides clean. The Haines Chamber of Commerce could be asked to help fund the program. Funds also could come from the tourism budget.

The borough might also consider siting a porta-pottie at 4 Mile or a point farther west for fishermen. Guests who feel appreciated and welcome are more likely to stick around, and to make future visits.

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The Haines Borough Assembly and school board elections, a local debate over corporate personhood and a discussion over media access to applications and evaluations of high-level employees shouldn’t distract municipal leaders from the most important item on their plates – finding a new borough manager and borough police chief.

These two jobs have enormous influence on the direction of our community and the town’s atmosphere, respectively. They’re high-paying jobs because they command great authority and responsibility.

It’s disappointing that assembly members so far have rejected the idea of hiring a recruitment firm to help on these decisions. Even if landing great people for these jobs cost the borough $30,000 each, that’s still a pittance compared to their salaries and the money saved by having hard-working, capable leaders at the helm for years at a time.

Without outside help finding candidates, assembly members will need to make a rigorous examination of backgrounds and work histories of applicants. Terms of hire – including pay, leave, benefits and severance pay – also need to be shared with the public before contracts are inked.

Also, these hires should be made by the assembly elected Oct. 2.

-- Tom Morphet