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Foundation President George Lea announced the selection, which recognizes McKee for not only an outstanding career with BLM, but for her leadership on a variety of national task forces and committees including the interagency BLM/Forest Service Interchange Program; wild horse marketing proposals, campaigns for volunteer programs, revisions of the Bureau's planning strategies, reintroduction of the black-footed ferret, grazing fee study, public affairs marketing, and national publication campaigns.
In 1992, Cindy was asked by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist with public affairs and community relation efforts following the nation's most costly natural disaster, Hurricane Andrew. In 1994, she was the first on-the-scene information officer at the South Canyon Fire tragedy that killed fourteen fire-fighters in Colorado. Following that disaster she initiated an interagency public affairs conference and assisted in the development of the Agency Administrator's Guide to Critical Incident Management, published by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.
Cindy has designed and taught media and public affairs roles and responsibilities, congressional relations, and fire information classes for a number of BLM and Forest Service Offices, and taught in the BLM Management and Leadership Workshop since 1997.
During the past two years Cindy has played a critical role in assisting the BLM Legislative Affairs Office and congressional offices and tracking the legislative process that successfully announced the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area and Wilderness in 1999, and the Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area and Black Ridge Wilderness in October 2000. In handling these sensitive matters, involving major national disasters, high profile National Conservation Areas, Wilderness Areas, and National Monument designations, and volatile wild horse management decisions, Cindy has "made a difference" in the public's acceptance of the programs and concept of the Bureau of Land Management.
"Cindy McKee's career, beginning as a clerk and in an upward mobility position, exemplifies personal dedication to a melding of public information and education with resource management to attain a harmonious balance of public opinion and management initiatives. Her efforts have facilitated new directions in protecting and enhancing natural resources," Lea said. "All too often the public does not appreciate the full and lasting intent of the agency's action in such diverse actions as establishing new national monuments and opening other previously reserved lands for exploration and development. The current controversy over oil and gas development in Alaska at a time when rolling blackouts of electrical power in California emphasize the need for cooperation and understanding. Cincy McKee is a leader in the field of providing information to supply this need.
We hope this recognition of Cindy's work will help the real owners of these lands to better understand and appreciate the high ideals and integrity that BLM employees bring to this difficult task each day. We want the public to know how lucky they are to have employees like Cindy.