“Alaska Governor Sarah Palin met [May 7, 2009] with the mayor and deputy mayor of Fort Yukon, as well as the local police, and discussed how the village was preparing for the impending flood waters of the Yukon River. While in town, the governor visited the school and the medical clinic” (Flood Zone, 2009, Â¶1).
“The village of Fort Yukon’s leadership has worked with our state emergency managers to plan for the worst and keep residents safe,” Governor Palin said. “I’m proud of their actions taken, and we will provide additional recovery support as the flood water subsides” (Flood Zone, 2009, Â¶2).
“Governor Palin and John Madden, the director of the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, visited the critical areas of Fort Yukon and saw the predicted flood plain and the buildings and homes that could be affected by the spring flood” (Flood Zone, 2009, Â¶3) .
According to Madden, the local levee was in good condition, but it was insufficient to stop the large flood. Further, he said the state has extensive planning to cope with these routine spring floods which result from break-up ice jams (Flood Zone, 2009, Â¶4).
View of flood plain from the air
View of flood plain from the ground
Some of Governor Palin’s left-wing critics have been posting this story and referring to the flood as being a “global warming” event. Alaska’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management director made clear that these break-up ice jams are a normal, spring-time occurrence. As the old saw goes, “you can have your opinion, but you can’t have your facts.” The last two pictures clearly show what a break-up ice jam flood looks like and the large areas affected by it. The state of Montana has a brochure which explains the mechanics of ice jams, which was referenced in the prior blog entry about the Governor’s site surveys in the flood zone. That brochure is listed here in the references once more.
As delineated in other postings, Governor Palin is a hands-on executive, which is a rarity. Most top executives content themselves to sit in an ivory tower far removed from the reality of that which they manage. By doing so, they lose essential operational knowledge, which greatly impairs their decision-making process. This Governor is not afraid to put on a pair of jeans and get dirty — and her doing these trips helps her determine with precision exactly where, when, and how resources should be allocated to deal with the flood.
The site survey or field visit is one of the most important tools a seasoned executive has in attaining and maintaining operational knowledge of subject matter — and Governor Palin to her credit uses it often.
Governor views flood zone as emergency teams respond. (2009, May 8). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved May 9, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1824
Ice jams. (n.d.). Montana Department of Military Affairs Disaster and Emergency Services Division. Retrieved May 8, 2009 from: http://dma.mt.gov/des/Library/Ice%20Jam.pdf