Wednesday, April 23, 1997
No shame the secretary name

Along with everyone else who has ever needed anything filed, dated, recorded, typed, stamped, delivered, organized, or simply found without delay Yellowknifer is more than pleased to celebrate Secretaries Week.

Secretaries are the proverbial backbone of any office. Just as the backbone houses the main conduit of the body's central nervous system, so does a secretary transmit his or her employer's wishes to the rest of the corporate structure.

This year, however, we note a certain troublesome trend among the ranks of those backbones. It is the desire to replace what some say is an outdated name with a more politically correct label.

Some suggest "office manager" or "administrative assistant" or any of a dozen even more imprecise terms.

Let us put this notion to a timely death. There is nothing wrong with "secretary." The word has a long and honorable ancestry. It is derived from the word "secret" and referred originally to those that kept them -- in other words, someone who served as an official gatekeeper, ensuring the needs of the executive are not confused with those of the public.

Today the job description is much more comprehensive. Our copy of Oxford calls a secretary one who deals with correspondence, keeps records and makes appointments and arrangements or someone in charge of the business affairs of an organization.

Nothing demeaning or limiting there.

And think of who else shares the title of secretary. There's the secretary general of the United Nations and the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, two of the most powerful people on the planet.

Closer to home there's Secretary of State Ethel-Blondin Andrew (she may not technically be in cabinet, but it's close) and the secretary-treasurer of many a town council.

So, secretaries of the world, show some backbone. Be proud of your heritage and your name.

Still guarding

Jimmy Kong says he did call the police prior to beating the hell out of a drunk, unco-operative man at his Corner Mart store on 50th Street, Feb. 1, contrary to what an editorial in Friday's Yellowknifer stated.

This fact, we found out Friday afternoon, was raised in court, where Kong's lawyer said the police were called and arrived 15 minutes later, five minutes too late to help Kong get the man out of the store and prevent the beating.

RCMP must treat every call from shopkeepers seriously, even if just one in a thousand turns out to be of a serious nature. The safety of everyone is at stake.

Safety begins at home

The charges recently laid in connection with a fatal fire March 1, should set off alarm bells for all property owners.

A Good Samaritan let a friend use his tool trailer for a place to sleep. There was a fire and the friend died after valiant attempts were made to rescue him. Now the Good Samaritan faces charges of creating an emergency.

There are undoubtedly more than a few similar situations in a city where apartments start at $700 per month and house prices start in the six figures.

The lesson must be that these days, while charity begins at home, so must safety, for everyone's sake.