Monday, July 13, 2009

July Update: Council Responsibilities

Since I started my term of office on 8 June 2009, I have occupied myself with getting up to speed on Huu-ay-aht First Nations (HFN) activities. We had our first Chief & Council meeting on Friday, 12 June 2009. During the first meeting, the specific responsibilities of each Councillor are assigned. These responsibilities are referred to as a Councillor's portfolio. They center on various aspects of the operation of our government and implementing the Maa-nulth Treaty. Examples of these areas are forestry, fisheries, finance, economic development, governance, lands & resources, education, health, community services and communications.

Currently, my portfolios are: Finance, Economic Development, Communications and overseeing progress on the Treaty Closing Plan. Also, I am a member of the Governance Committee. While these items are generally my responsibility, they are in no way my own personal fiefdom. The power to make decisions rests in the entire Council, not just in one Councillor. The Council has put their trust in me to oversee the operations and progress in these particular areas, however, and I aim to do my best. Making decisions that will alter policy or our practices take the agreement of the Council, and this is a hallmark of our democratic process.

(Committee Chair)

Honestly, I used to find the idea of finance to be more than a bit boring. It took me a while to fully realize just how important the management of money and wealth is in today's world. Like every well-run organization and most households, the Huu-ay-aht First Nations has a budget, a plan that looks at our sources of income and the things we decide to spend money on. Whenever there is a decision made by government, it is the job of the Finance Committee to find the money in the budget to do it. Nearly every decision made by government affects the budget and there needs to be people in place to assure that it is all managed properly. So far, I am glad to say that we have a good team in place.

Economic Development
(Committee Chair)

When I was in University, I specifically studied the concept of economic development. It's not just about jobs or money, but rather building a human environment where the rules allow for businesses to operate without undue interference from government, to provide the necessary opportunities for citizens to acquire the skills for a job and access enough information to find those jobs. My approach to building a stronger economy is comprehensive. While I understand the need for Nation-owned businesses to exist, I also want to build an economy where citizens can start their own businesses. Thus far, I have worked with the "EcDev" committee on the creation of a process for evaluating the opportunities that have been forwarded to our Nation from various sources. Our next job will be to work with members and experts on the creation of an economic development strategy that will guide us into the new era for more than the next few years.

(Committee Chair)

One of the reasons that our government has been so successful has been because of efforts that we have put into keeping our people informed. Through phone calls, community meetings, home visits and our newspaper (Huu-ay-aht Uyaqhmis), the HFN has made informing you one of its first priorities. Though I am no longer in the same position to help put the newspaper together, I am still the Chairman of the Communications Committee. Our first priority will be to find a suitable candidate to fill my old position as Communications Coordinator. Our next task will be to create a communications plan that will involve a plan for revamping the HFN Website as well as further involvment on the "New Web" such as Facebook and YouTube.

(Committee Member)

I retain my seat on the HFN Governance Committee. We work to create the laws that will be the rules of our government and the methods that we use to make decisions. We've done much work on developing laws such as the Elections Act, the Referendum Act and the Citizenship Act. In September, we aim to start work on one of our most important laws, the Government Act itself. Right now, we are working to take the input you provided during the last community information sessions and use them in the development of the previously-mentioned laws.

In Closing...

It's been a busy month. The coming weeks will be just as, if not even more, active. It's an honour to be a part of something so important.


Klecko, klecko.

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