Story by A1C Caitlin Russell on 03/18/2019For service members and families who reside on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, knowing who to contact about specific housing questions can be helpful.
"As a neighborhood mayor, we provide the link of communication between the command and the community," said Alex Hegg, JBER mayor coordinator.
Mayors handle everything from fielding complaints and directing residents to authorities who can help, to addressing issues with command leadership. They serve as filters, managing smaller issues so leadership can focus on bigger ones. Mayors also review policies and help guide new programs that serve the community.
"The mayor's council, command leadership and community representatives meet every six to eight weeks to discuss community issues," said Cordula Kline, 673d Civil Engineer Squadron government housing representative. "However, if there are pressing or urgent matters, they can be addressed outside of the meetings."
Members of the 673d Security Forces Squadron, Anchorage School District, JBER fish and wildlife management, and the command chief of the 673d Air Base Wing are all normally present during the meetings.
While the mayors' council primarily address living conditions, they also provide input on quality-of-life initiatives such as recreational areas, park cleanliness and overflow parking. Recently, discussions have included earthquake impacts, and snow and ice conditions.
"We are here to help make the neighborhoods we live in better places by addressing comments and concerns to leadership and Aurora Military Housing that they otherwise might not be informed of," Hegg said. "A lot of the questions are related to housing rules and regulations, and are easily answered using the Aurora handbook."
Mayors are elected through an application process and are selected based on suitability. While the neighborhood mayor program is completely voluntary, mayors work to ensure information is relayed, and resources and guidance are provided to residents.
With 13 neighborhoods and ten mayors currently serving, the mayors' council is looking for volunteers for Silver Run, Sunflower and Fireweed neighborhoods. Personnel looking to volunteer can contact the JBER mayor coordinator.
"The mayor gives a voice to the residents and provides them with an avenue to get answers they may need," Kline said. "They enable leadership to see community issues from a resident standpoint."
To contact the JBER mayor coordinator, email email@example.com.