Tweed Shuman: Council Update on the Tribal Budget, Forestry and Contracts
Boozhoo Tribal Members,
I promised full transparency and open communication to the membership, and give you an update of what I have been working on recently while in office.
I have been all about and fully involved in preparing our 2018 tribal budget. We are balancing the budget without the use of Enbridge payments. There were several major items in the budget that needed to be addressed. PTO was one of those issues, in the past some employees were wrongly able to accrue overtime and comp time and there was never a cap. However, now we have a policy in place that will prohibit that from happening, there is not a roll-over for sick or vacation time, at the end of each fiscal year an employee either uses it or loses it. There was money that was paid out wrongly in my opinion, because a person should only get paid out PTO if they are retiring or leaving their position.
We have also looking at all our employees on contract, we want to move away from contracts and establish exempt employees, these are people in supervisory positions that cannot accrue comp or overtime. They of course will still be able to accrue their PTO to the cap which I believe is 288 for employees employed longer than 10 or more years, but nothing beyond that.
There is more revenue now in forestry and logging by contracting with FutureWood Corp and we are using those funds to buy back land within reservation boundaries. We have also asked for more money from LCO Financial Services to come to support the tribal budget, they currently contribute $ 42,000 to the tribe monthly and about $ 500,000 annually. Financial Services also provides numerous jobs for the community. I completely support these tribal jobs and I support the opportunities that Financial Services is bringing us and the future looks amazing.
I would also like to inform you that the elders will be getting Christmas checks this year and birthday checks will be back for the elders starting October, 2017. I strongly approve and supported the increase for the elder's home improvements and auto repairs. December 17, 2017 is the elders Christmas party at the LCO Casino's Event center.
Acting upon the recent resignation of our previous Health Director, we are pleased to announce that Don Smith will be Interim Health Director. I look forward to what Don has to bring and his experience to overseeing the LCO Health Center. TGB will be more involved in the third-party funds and how they are allocated from the clinic. There are many needs in our community and this money can be used for those issues including AODA/Mental Health referrals, hearing aids for our elders, optical services, braces for our youth, pharmaceuticals. There are so many things that our community members need and we do not want to deny anyone services.
I am completely onboard with our CFO and current council to get the tribe off of high risk, we have been on high risk since 2002. To get off of high risk it will take two clean audits, and it is my mission that in my term that we will get off of high risk and to continue to balance the budget and be very conservative with our spending.
The Boys and Girls Club services our future, mentoring our youth in a positive way is vital to preparing them to lead the way. It is important that we do all we can to prepare them for these higher-level positions. We must keep encouraging our youth to go to college, so that they can stay home and help run our businesses. It would be great to see more of our directors and college graduates going into the schools during career days, what better way to encourage our youth than by talking to them about planning for their future.
I will continue to inform the membership on what I am doing in my position as council member for the Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe, and I am very proud to serve you and to represent the Tribe. Chi- Miigwech, Happy Safe Hunting and Happy ,Thanksgiving to all of you