Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Herb Pond moves on to First Nations government duties

If Jack Mussallem is thinking ahead, perhaps he's polishing up his resume and preparing to send it off to Metlakatla, after all, it seems that the duties of Mayor of Prince Rupert are but a stepping stone towards administration work at various First Nations communities.

The Daily news confirmed the hot rumour of the weekend in town, that of former Mayor Herb Pond taking on duties with the government of Lax Kw'alaams, Mr. Pond will become the communities new band administrator, following it seems the trail blazed by former Mayor Don Scott, who recently took up a similar post with the First Nations band at Hartley Bay.

Mr. Pond outlined how his legacy at City Hall may have provided him an entry into the band administration position and how he feels that it will be a good fit for him as he enters a new phase of political life.

While his new position won't be as high profile as his last few efforts, we suspect he will still prove to be a very visible part of the North coast political scene, outlining as he does for the Daily News as to what he likes about his new bosses and what they hope to achieve for their community.

It will be interesting to see how he transfers some of that passion for the port development and the Tsimshian connector to name a few of his past interests, into the daily administration of band duties for Lax Kw'alaams.

Even more interesting to watch will be the transition from the very visible face of a community and with it all the publicity that went with it, to more of a nuts and bolts administrator.

Less in the public eye and more office orientated than he may have been in his last public occupation.

The Tuesday edition of the Daily News relayed the developments and Mr. Pond's impressions of his new opportunities.

The Daily News
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Page three

Rupertites could be excused for thinking that First Nations villages appear to be in a race to sign up as many former elected city officials as they can.

Perhaps not, but in the last three weeks two former Prince Rupert mayors have been added to Tsimshian band administrations. First it was Don Scott, who served as Mayor from 1999-to-2003. Scott was hired three weeks ago as Hartley Bay's new CEO.

And now, Lax Kw'alaams have signed up a former mayor of their own. Herb Pond has been hired as their new band administrator where he will work directly under Band manager Wayne Drury and elected chief John Helin.

"It was just an opportunity that John and I were talking about and it began to grow," said Pond Friday.

The hiring was announced to delegates at the community-to-community spring forum in Port Simpson early last week but wasn't made public until Friday when Pond confirmed the hiring with the Daily News.

Pond thinks that the Port Simpson community is one that will continue to be on the growth path on the North Coast and he felt that the timing, after a loss at the provincial polls, made sense to get going again.

"They have been needing help for quite some time. The band manager, Wayne Drury, is a busy man," said Pond

In between the band's forest company, the fish processing plant and other growth potential industries such as tourism, Pond looks poised to help bring a communications network that he has garnered over the last six years as mayor, and the last month as the BC Liberal candidate for the North Coast.

Many of the members of band council had supported Pond during the campaign, and Pond had been in a leadership position during the community-to-community protocol agreements back in November.

"On the plus side to my resume is I have a pretty good understanding of councils and how they work, a pretty good understanding of the provincial government and connections into their offices and I think for the community that I can also be a good conduit between the city of Prince Rupert and Lax Kw' alaams," said Pond.

"I certainly like where the leadership is taking the community and I've always been supportive of what they are doing.

"I think the feeling was mutual so we talked a little bit further and the next thing you know I was talking to council and here I am."

Pond said he was happy with the new opportunity but it won't take him far from home. Much like the arrangement made by Scott and Hartley Bay elected chief, Jack Clifton, Pond will live and work part time in Port Simpson and part time in Prince Rupert.

According to Pond, he will play a less visible role as band administrator than as he did during his time as Mayor.

"There are issues that I will have a steep learning curve on: the housing and social programs, health and education. Fortunately there are really good people who are running all of those departments," said Pond.

As far as two former mayors getting gigs in North Coast villages, Pond was convinced it was pure coincidence.

But he did admit that having the closer ties with Rupert and the other villages and concerted effort of cooperation is becoming a real priority for North Coasters.

"I think it does reflect that the communities have been wanting to work closer together. That community-to community forum ... to have all those communities working together like they were in Lax Kw'alaams, that-has never happened before like that and it continues to be one of the proudest legacies for me from my time in office," he said.

"We began something that people see the value in continuing."

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