|BLM RAC member Ashley Korenblat speaks with the State BLM Director Selma Sierra.|
The Bureau of Land Management Resource Advisory Council met in Castle Dale on May 2. They began their tour of the area on May 1 where they were taken by bus into Nine Mile Canyon.
Selma Sierra, the state BLM director spoke to the RAC and gave them an update. Utah has 11 BLM offices and as the BLM moves into the future some of these individual offices may be streamlined into district offices. Sierra said the BLM will work together to become more unified at the state level as sometimes procedures differ from office to office.
Some field offices have too much individual autonomy. In the future the field offices will work more as a team. As more consolidation takes place then resources can be pooled and coordination could take place with NEPA and other work the BLM performs. Sierra said she wants more focus on field activities. The BLM doesn't want to lose all of their human resources division to out of state. She suggested they look at what the forest service did with their Albuquerque office which could be helpful.
If any of the IT services move to Denver, the state BLM still needs to make sure they have what they need to function. There could be more remote location activity, but reports may be made to Denver.
One RAC member expressed concern that a local presence will be missing from the communities the BLM serves if functions are consolidated out of state. Communities where leadership roles shift are sometimes left with a loss of community, leadership and control.
Sierra said they are working to keep that connection and field managers will stay in close touch with local communities. She as the state director will also structure visits with district and field offices. She said a broader scope sometimes is easier to work through on some issues. She assured everyone that when she is gone on business at a regional level that the Deputy Director Jeff Rawson who has great technical skills will handle things at her absence. He will be more involved in the day to day operations as she travels to visit communities and field offices. She has been to Vernal, Fillmore, Kanab, Price and St. George with plans to visit Cedar City and St. George again in the near future.
One RAC member saw folly in making all of the offices too much the same and 'super-streamlining' could cause problems as each field office has different problems and decisions to make.
Sierra didn't see that as too much of a problem, because individual field offices will report to a field director. She also said that every Monday morning all of the field managers have a conference call with her. She doesn't want to see those good communication avenues lost. She said as they go through the budget process they will keep these things in mind. There are several options on the table right now and Washington has given the BLM two years for implementation.
RAC members include: Carl Albrecht, Norm Carroll, Mike Jenkins, Lowell Braxton, Ray Bloxham, Ashley Korenblat, Riley Cutler, Jerry Spangler, Gordon Topham, Emery County Commissioner Drew Sitterud, Fee Busby, Tom Clawson, Lynn Stevens and Manuel Morgan.