CHUUK COMMUNITY ELECTS OFFICERS

WENO, Chuuk (Marianas Variety, Jan. 3) - The board of directors of the Chuuk Organization for Community Action has geared into action two measures: a reorganization of its officers and a proposed budget for FY 2003 amounting to $2.24 million.

The 12-member board is comprised of five representatives from Chuuk’s five senatorial regions of Southern Namoneas, Northern Namoneas, Northwest, Mortlocks, and Faichuk; one representative each from Chuuk Fisheries and Fishing Coop, Chuuk Health Services, Chuuk Women’s Association, Chuuk Department of Education, Chuuk Private Sector, and the current Chuuk Head Start Policy Council.

In a peaceful and professional election process, Bernard Billimont, a state official with "multiple hats" of Southern Namoneas, was elected president; Mathews Lokopwe, a four-year Chuuk senator, vice president; and Florence Stanely, assistant chief clerk of the House of Chuuk State Legislature, secretary-treasurer.

The board’s three standing committees are now chaired by Dr. K. Keybond, representing Chuuk State Health Services, personnel; Lokopwe, finance; and traditional chief T. Songeni, who represents Faichuk, program planning and evaluation.

Chuuk State Surpeme Court Chief Clerk Kolbert Angei, who represents the Mortlocks, was appointed chairman of the by-laws committee while Lokopwe will head the audit committee.

The bylaws and audit committees are considered special panels and can be dissolved after their purposes are served.

While the Federated States of Micronesia presidency rotates on a state basis, the COCA president is simply elevated. COCA, which has been in its 31st year of serving the children, parents, and communities of Chuuk, is governed by a board and a policy council. The term for the directors on the board may be staggered while parent representatives on the council expire annually.

In a sense, the operations of the Head Start program is more or less like that of the state government. The Head Start Policy Council, whose members are elected by parents at their respective centers, makes policies like the legislature; the management or staff implements and enforces those policies like the executive branch; and the board, which has the legal authority, judges. Both governing bodies are guided by by-laws.

Akiki Irons, former Chuuk senator, was the outgoing chairman while this reporter was the vice chairman, and Police Officer Saimon Lorenze, secretary.

For the new year, the chairmanship goes to this writer. The vice chairmanship goes to Eddie Beyond, principal of Berea Christian High School. Carlos Yang, a counselor at the Chuuk FSM Substance Abuse and Mental Health, was elected secretary.

January 3, 2003

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