Sunday, November 26, 2006

Civilians Left Out of Task Force

Mayor feels civilians neglected on civilian/military task force

by Clynt Ridgell, KUAM News
Sunday, November 26, 2006

The task force created to accommodate the anticipated military expansion on Guam in the opinion of one sitting member exists just for show, as one particular village mayor says when he attends meetings, decision are already made. And evidently, Guam's chief executive rejected the request of each village mayor having a voice in the task force.

Several months ago Governor Felix Camacho created a civilian/military task force to develop a comprehensive master plan that would not only identify opportunities to benefit island residents, but one that would accommodate military expansion and operations in the territory. The idea was to have members of both the uniformed and non-uniformed communities come together to make this organization. The problem is that not all the members feel that their voices are being heard.

Agana Heights mayor Paul McDonald is the only mayoral representative on the task force and said, "I've attended a couple of those meetings and I think the meetings that we've had were meetings that have already been decided upon on." According to the municipal leader, when he attends meetings most of the decisions that are supposed to be made by some form of consensus have already been made. This is why McDonald says that he feels as if the task force is more for show than for actual function.

"I've felt that the community was not properly being represented on issues that I don't think have been addressed down to the community level, which is I feel our level - my level," he stated. Mayor McDonald says that he wrote to the Governor requesting that all the mayors be included on the task force, but he says that request was summarily put down. McDonald adds that he's concerned that the head of the civilian/military task force is a member of the military community.

The mayor continued, "I really think that a civilian should take the lead of this task force and nothing personal to General [Donald] Goldhorn, but he's a military personnel and he should, of course, respect the higher military authorities in D.C., and I'm sure that if it was a civilian person in his place that we will get more voice. [sic]"

McDonald's main concern is that the civilian voice is heard, as it is by its nature the civilian/military task force. But as for right now, he says that's sorely not the case.

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