From Asia to Fraser: New assistant town manager learns the ropes
March 24, 2015
Fraser has a new assistant town manager.
Bektur Sakiev is filling the position as part of an internship through a program at the University of Colorado Denver, where he is pursuing a master's degree in political science.
Sakiev received his undergraduate degree in international and comparative politics from the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, where Sakiev is from.
Though he comes from a theoretical background, Sakiev said the practicality of public administration and policy was appealing to him.
"In administration policy, you deal with everyday policies, you affect peoples' lives, and that interested me," Sakiev said. "I'm more of a practical person than theoretical."
Previously, Sakiev worked in the U.S. Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic. He has also worked with nongovernmental organizations including the National Democratic Institute and the Foundation for Tolerance International.
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Since starting his internship in January, Sakiev said he's been learning a lot about local government, administration and finance.
Town Manager Jeff Durbin has encouraged him to get involved in the town departments, he said.
Sakiev has been working on sustainability initiatives with the town and applying for grants.
He's currently working on bringing a recycling program to the town.
Sakiev said it was exciting to witness to what he calls "American efficiency" in local government.
Though he conceded that Americans themselves might not be quick to use the "e" word to describe anything to do with government, Sakiev said that, comparatively, local government here is efficient.
"If you compare here with back home then yes, of course, there's a huge difference," he said.
So far, Sakiev has assimilated well into the mountain lifestyle.
The Kyrgyz Republic is a mountainous country bordering Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and China.
Sakiev himself speaks three languages.
With peaks higher than 20,000 feet, Sakiev said the country's topography and climate are similar to Colorado's, albeit with much taller mountains.
"I say that the only difference between my country and here is that you have more Americans here and a better economy," he quipped.
He's been skiing for a few years now and was lucky enough to bag a few days at Winter Park Resort this year.
He also enjoys biking and hiking.
"I like it because that way I can eat as much as I want," he said.
Sakiev's internship will last for two years.
After that, he said he'd like to find a job in the U.S., though he said it's difficult for foreign citizens to get a job in here.
He's also considering pursuing a doctorate in public policy and administration.
For now, though, he's enjoying being a part of the Fraser community.
"I like the community here," Sakiev said. "It's really friendly. I like the town and the town hall staff. They've been friendly, really nice, and I'm learning a lot."