Read this and see what the tribal council has become.
The Tribal Business Council held its Regular Meeting on April 14, 2011 and took the following action.
Ethics Ordinance: Steve Kelly, Hank Bolman 12:39
Steve Kelly: Ok Mr. Chairman and Council, it good to see you all again. But I am here regretfully. Iím here on a matter that brings me against the Chairman. Itís never easy to bring any matter thatís contrary to the personal interest of a councilman and especially the Chairman of the tribe. The reason I am here is because I have a business called the Badlands Drilling Fluids and Supply and that business provides drilling fluids and mud engineering services to different companies on the reservation. I have had ah, been working for three rigs pretty steady for now for a year. A Zenergy Rig, actually two Zenery rigs at one time, a Petro-Hunt rig, and an XTO rig; and lately Iíve been informed, Mr. Chairman in my office Iíve gotten calls from different company men saying that Rotary-one, which is a partner with Mehshu Energy which is owned by the Chairman and the owner of Rotary-One is a man by the name of Tony Kizar. He has been calling up the various company men on my rigs and trying to take my jobs away from me. Okay, and the company men have been calling me, telling me this. On the last Zenergy job, after I heard about it I called Tony Kizar directly and asked him to back off. And I told him about the ethic code, ethics ordinance and I told him if it, if he did take a job away from me, I would be forced to protect my interests; come before the council and have the ethics ordinance enforced against Mehshu Energy and Rotary-One. He said, ďYou go to the councilĒ. So he called me on here and thatís why I am here. Iím not here because I wanted to be. I was hoping not to be here. I didnít go after any of the Chairmanís rigs and I was hoping he wouldnít come after any of mine. But that isnít what happened. So, I have a resolution of, that Iíve sent to the secretary, I believe you all have it.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: I donít have it Steve. Weíre not the Ethics Board neither Steve, so itís really not an appropriate venue.
Steve Kelly: Well first of all, lets ah; Chairman this is a matter that is contrary to your personal interests. You have conflict of interest and I would like to ask you to turn the meeting over to the Vice-Chair.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: No I wonít. It goes before the ethics or not, the ethics board. Steve Kelly: Ok you do follow the ethics ordinance?
Chairman Tex G. Hall: There is none.
Steve Kelly: Its right here, its right here. Whatís this? Has this been rescinded? The ethics ordinance?
Karen Rabbithead: Thereís no ethics board.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Thereís no ethics board.
Steve Kelly: There doesnít have to be an ethics board.
Karen Rabbithead: Inaudible.
Steve Kelly: Is this, hey can we get control of this meeting?
Vice-Chairman Scott Eagle: Mr. Chairman I guess thereís were Iíd like to as far as with that, Iíd like to know with them is a very tough issue and itís really hard as far as that, Iíll try to listen it out, I would like to try to see how we can resolve this as far as with this and thatís one of the things there is when we have that and I respect the audience as far as membership. You know as far as that and so if we can keep it professional as far as with that I guess I want to say that and how do we?
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Well Iíll tell you what Scott, Steve Kelly wonít tell me how to a meeting. Iíll tell you that.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Inaudible with clapping of audience in the background.
Steve Kelly: I will ask, I will ask you to follow the orders. I will ask you that, thatís your duty.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: You wonít run the meeting Steve, I guarantee you that Iíll have you removed if you do.
Steve Kelly: Your right Iím not trying to run the meeting. Iím asking you to follow the ordinance. Iíll tell you want the ordinance says.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: And Iíll tell you that thereís no board. You heard the whole conversation and there hasnít been a board in place ever.
Steve Kelly: Well I would like to refer to article 6 section L of the constitution of the Three Affiliated Tribes which states the Tribal Business Council has a specific power to adopt resolutions in regulating the procedures of the Tribal Business Council and tribal agencies and tribal officials of the reservation and they have adopted this ordinance. Which say; Under abstention from official action 1. When a public official or employee is required to take official action on a matter which is such, a public official or employee has a personal or economic interest, they should first consider eliminating the interest. If that is not feasible, they are required under the subsection of the above, such public official or employee shall, under B, abstain from voting, sponsoring, influence, or in any manner attempting to influence in a vote, official decision, or determination which would favor or damage a personís economical interest in such matter.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Who administers that though Steve?
Steve Kelly: The Council does.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: No they donít. The ethics board does.
Steve Kelly: No. Only if a complaint was filed on that and you are required to abide by this. Now if you donít want to abide by this, thatís fine; we can file a complaint on that. But Iím telling you that is your law.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Youíre not our attorney Steve. Youíre a business person with an interest. John whatís your interpretation of the ethics ordinance?
Attorney John Fredericks: Well my interpretation is just what I laid out, the opinion that I wrote that is that first of all itís not a violation of the ethics ordinance for a councilman to sell supplies and services in the oil patch. Secondly, if thereís a complaint like Steve and Mr. Bolman, they need to refer that to an ethics commit, the ethics committee and my recommendation would be that this council put an ethics committee in place so that the ethics committee can make a call on these these complaints that these gentlemen are filing. But itís not that ethics ordinance thatís specific that says that complaints like this have to be referred to the ethics committee. Thatís why you, thatís why you established it.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: And that was my point Steve. Weíre not the ethics committee or the ethics board.
Steve Kelly: The Tribal Business Council has ultimate control over the actions of the Tribal Council members. Thatís in the constitution.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: You heard it from our attorney Steve.
Steve Kelly: Thatís his opinion.
Hank Bolman: Mr. Chairman, Iíd like to make a comment here. Everyone of youíve been up here, voted in with the confidence of the people that put you in here to make the difference from right and wrong and this is entirely wrong. And itís damaging to other contractors out there working to make their own reputation; and with the influence of the members of the, especially the Chairman; influencing, writing letters out to different companies, threatening them you have to use my pipe or you donít come on the reservation land.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: I havenít wrote a letter saying that Hanks.
Hank Bolman: Inaudible, if you are unable to run an orderly meeting without interrupting me in the back crowd, I respectfully ask the chairman to call point of order.
chairman Tex G. Hall: You donít run the meeting either Hanks, you or Steve will not run this meeting Hanks.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: (above the clapping) Youíre not elected.
Hanks Bolman: (above the clapping) Call point of order. People.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Youíre not elected Hanks.
Hanks Bolman: Well can you call point of order? We donít needÖ(inaudible).
Chairman Tex G. Hall: You donít run this meeting. Point of order, stick to the facts and youíre not running this meeting. Thatís my point of order.
Hanks Bolman: Iím requesting that we have a right to be heard and all the councilmen have a right to be heard.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Yes you do have a right to be heard.
Hanks Bolman: Ok.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: So keep going this.
Maxine Buffalo: I have a comment.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Yes Maxine.
Maxine Buffalo: When you got yourself elected you said within thirty days you were going to get separation of powers and you were going to work on the constitution, what happened to that?
Karen Rabbithead: We are working on that yet. Pulled up a big (inaudible) here Maxine.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Thatís, Thatís part of ourÖ (female voice inaudible speaking in the background). Thatís part of our agenda.
Maxine Buffalo: Ok.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: For 2011. 2011 Maxine and thatís also were you heard that the ethics committee I completely support. But weíre not the ethics board.
Maxine Buffalo: We know that but why donít you have it in place? If you have an ethics, you know if you have it in place then whereís the committee? Whereís your job all of you here. Instead of sitting here talking. Get to what you got to be doing.
Steve Kelly: You know Mr. Chairman if I may. I guess you donít deny that you have a business. You donít deny that the ordinance says that you canít have or do business with companies, correct?
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Is this a complaint Steve? If it is, it needs to go before the ethics board.
Steve Kelly: No itís a resolution. Iím asking the councilÖ
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Which resolution are youÖ
Steve Kelly: I thought you had it. Can you pass it down to him? The secretaries office has it?
Councilwoman Brugh: Is this the one?
Steve Kelly: yep.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: So you wanted to enforce a resolution on ethics against me and nobody else?
Steve Kelly: Correct.
Female Voice in background: (inaudible) wow.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: You, youÖ
Donna Morgan: Chairman Hall?
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Yes Donna. Yes.
Donna Morgan: Umm, Iím glad this is being brought out. But what you neglected to mention Steve, is there are silent holders in Dakota 3. A lot of us are aware of that. We tried to do something about Dakota 3 and those threatening letters that went out and we came before the council at that time. And there was letters out on Dakota 3, those threatening letters, and thatís a shame for us here. But there are silent owners in Dakota 3 and you need to know who they are and you should make mention of that.
Steve Kelly: Well I donít know anything about that as far as who the silent owners are and the only reason Iím here is because youíre coming after my work. If itís not you, then itís your partner.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Itís aÖ
Steve Kelly: My (inaudible).
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Donna is raising a point about thereís other businesses and again, those need to go to an ethics board to hear ethics complaints. So.
Steve Kelly: Well just let me read something from this transition team report. If I may?
Donna Morgan: (Speaking in the background) mention that we did. The elders organization, four years ago addressed this ethics ordinance and as I said earlier, Marcus mentioned there was going to be three attorneys. One was Tom Fredericks (inaudible) he (inaudible).
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Yeah he was.
Donna Morgan: Yes at that time we brought that to your attention here. The ethics ordinance and that was supposed to be replaced three months after we brought it to your attention.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Actually, I think Steve drafted it.
Steve Kelly: No actually the Fredericks firm drafted it and its been in effect since 2005. Itís been in effect since then. Itís in effect now. Itís just a matter of enforcing it.
Donna Morgan: My step son, that has, that works for the oil companies; he is in competition and what your just mentioning Steve, heís going through the same thing. What, this is competition and heís having to fend for himself and you know who he is.
Steve Kelly: I donít.
Donna Morgan: Heís working very hard, he himself. Itís competition.
Steve Kelly: I donít mind competition but I canít compete with the Chairman. I canít compete with the office. Chairman if youíre around and people think they have give the the Chairmanís office work, I canít compete with that. AnywayÖ
Chairman Tex G. Hall: There is a little more to it Steve, itís also being able to do the work. Keep a contract.
Steve Kelly: You know, you know, you donít know what youíre talking about because I have the same product and the same people you used.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Neither do you.
Steve Kelly: The only difference. I do know because Iím out there. Youíre not.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Yes I am.
Steve Kelly: You use somebody else and you have to listen to what they tell you. You know what you donít understand is that even when you get the work off the reservation your partner is trying to take that from you.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: I read the TERO, some of the documents on how youíre not; some of the companies donít want to use your company no more. So anyway, you want to go there but ahÖ
Steve Kelly: Iíd like to see those. I definitely want to go there.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Öbut the appropriate venue is an ethics board, to hear ethics complaints.
Steve Kelly: Well put it together and we will take it to the ethics board then.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Well just put it on the agenda for next month Steve.
Richard Hall: (inaudible in background) Mr. Chairman. Never.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: I think that is what he is insinuating huh?
Richard Hall: We turned around and told everybody. (inaudible).
Steve Kelly: Iíve talked to people that have told me that.
Richard Hall: He come in there when I first came in there and (inaudible) in my office. People wonít use him and I give you (inaudible) why they wonít use him. Heís got, every (inaudible), every one of our contractors have to go through a massive service contract. If theyíre not going to finish that, there not going to get any work. Frank Silletti was here today, he had to do the same thing. It goes through (inaudible) right now. You canít finish that, where he he can because his (inaudible) massive service contract. (Inaudible) will tell you the same thing. Itís a process that you got to go through. Every (inaudible) contractor has got to go through. (Inaudible) weíre trying to make it easier at TERO. We work, but when I was the TERO Director (inaudible) Charles would (inaudible).
Chairman Tex G. Hall: And you canít force a company to use you if youíre not doing good work.
Chairman Tex G. Hall, Councilman Mervin Packineau, and Councilman Scott Eagle: (speaking together inaudible).
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Oh, ok.
Vice-Chairman Scott Eagle: (inaudible) itís like we havenít been trying. (inaudible).
Chairman Tex G. Hall: And whatís the date on this? 2008? There is a resolution here that Scott and Mervin showed me that ah, has three attorneys and one alternate. They never did ah, I donít know if Damon is still in here or not. But they were never contacted? Thatís a pretty good board right there.
Vice-Chairman Scott Eagle: I thought we did it again.
Male Voice: We approve a budget too.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Those are good, you know real high ranking attorneys and no conflict of interest and I wouldnít want Steve on that board, holy man heíd. You got to have somebody that is third party and doesnít have aÖ
Steve Kelly: Donít have a what? Conflict of interest?
Chairman Tex G. Hall: I didnít say that.
Steve Kelly: (laughing) You were gonna.
chairman Tex G. Hall: (laughing) I didnít say that. Steve I didnít say that.
Steve Kelly: (laughing) No such thing around here I guess.
Councilman Strahs: (in background) That this one right here I guess.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: This is a pretty good board here. Yes Hanks.
Hanks Bolman: I would like to read this letter here. To all (inaudible) the oil contractors. To whom it may concern. The TERO office would like to give notice that some of our certified Indian contractors are not being utilized for their services. We would like to reiterate that you must first contact these certified Indian contractors. (Inaudible) you must first contact these certified Indian contractors for services before contacting anyone else. (Inaudible) all the business come through our office. If you have any questions please contact information (inaudible) contact information as well as their services with companies. And it shows here that Mehshue wrote (inaudible). This was written by the director that you appointed in there. If that isnít a conflict of interest I donít know what is.
Richard Hall: You know Mr. Chairman.
Hanks Bolman: The damage is done. All the oil companies out there now are being threatened. Why wasnít everybody else put on this list? Instead of just three?
Chairman Tex G. Hall: I think they were Hank.
Richard Hall: (Inaudible).
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Go ahead.
Richard Hall: (Inaudible) the tribe knows that our (inaudible) realized that (inaudible) utilizing the contractors through the (inaudible). We had two, three different contractors say that (inaudible)Marathon, Zenergy, EOG. Theyíre not utilizing them, their going off and using a company (inaudible). Another thing that came up, was fracking. Theyíre not using (inaudible) because our guys. We have one Indian company that does the fracking. Thatís what (inaudible) use.
Female Voice in background: (inaudible in discussion with Richard Hall)
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Hanks on thatÖ
Hanks Bolman: (Inaudible) in the first place.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Hanks.
Hanks Bolman: It only says three. Three contractors.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Hanks, on this ahÖ
Hanks Bolman: If you read the sixed item on that handout. It just explains what I, all the Indian contractors are concerned on this issue. Because this politics is getting too involved in the oil field. It has to be (inaudible)from the very beginning. I started doing roust-about before anybody ever started. Politics does not belong out in the oil field.
Richard Hall: They have a list of frackers and a list of pipe suppliers. Those are the ones I sent out. If you supplied pipe and you (inaudible) fracking or (inaudible) oil, you would have been on it. (Inaudible) youíre not on the list. (Inaudible) neither is Steve. (Inaudible) not for supplying pipe, not for fracking, and not for hot oil. Thatís why (inaudible) impact (inaudible). The point to that was to say those companies Marathon, EOG; they have to use those because those are the only ones that do that. (Inaudible).
Hank Bolman: It shows right there.
Steve Kelly: Council.
Hank Bolman: Itís a conflict of interest with you being appointed by the Chairman. (Inaudible) top of the list.
Steve Kelly: What the Chairman and the tribes attorney is telling you is that the only relief that you have are the we have is to file a complaint against the Chairman and go before this committee which hasnít been appointed and isnít sitting. I disagree with that. The ordinance itself addresses it under section 3M, it says; other relief not barred. First of all, the constitution says that you have the right to govern the conduct of your own members. That supersedes the ordinance. This has to conform with the constitution ok, part M says other relief not barred. Nothing herein shall be construed as for closing the right of the MHA Nation. Through a special prosecutor otherwise to initiate proceedings to secure the relief and sanctions before section 4B and section 4C of the so ordinance. Then under section 4(2). A2 it says, no sanction or penalty provided herein shall limit any other powers of the Tribal Business Council. Iíll say that again, no sanctions or penalty provided herein shall limit any other powers of the Tribal Business Council or the Fort Berthold District court or any other entity or administrative officials or employees under other applicable laws, rules, regulations, or procedures. So Iím presenting you the resolution. I would like the council to act on it. And thatís all I can say.
Councilman Arnold Strahs: Chairman.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Yes, Arnie.
Councilman Arnold Strahs: Ok I guess some of us are going to be stuck in the middle one way or the other whether we like it or not. First of all Hanks, as far as them letters, I have heard of them but I have never seen one yet. Like a letter you just read. And second of all, what was I gonna say; when we discussed the election it came up about Tex having a business. But then again, so does Frank. So does Merv, heís a rancher, farmer. I mean he could come in and use his influences and say well alright weíre going to lend him so much money. Frank could say we got to use his scoria pit, and thereís various things like that. We discussed it and decided if um, business is conducted as it should it would be ok.
And that is that, and umÖ
Female Voice in the background: (Inaudible)
Councilman Arnold Strahs: See I, just another, what do I want to say; hear say. Iíve never had any proof of it. So whatís a person say when youíre up here and you have to come before all these people and say something thatís not only affects the people out there but the people up here. It affects everybody on this reservation. Next thing you know it will be in the Minot or Bismarck paper. And pretty soon everybody else will be, itíll affect us all. Because it will reflect on us as a reservation. Thatís sometimes tough to take. Just going out there and oh, your from Fort Berthold. Thank you.
Councilwoman V. Judy Brugh: You know that I have always said that you should not have a pecuniary interest and thatís exactly what John Fredericks wrote in his statement and I still stand behind that. I know I had arguments with Councilman Whitecalfe on that same thing and I donít think that any of us should have pecuniary interests in anything. When weíre dealing with things like this. And if its in our code of ethics, we either need to stand behind the code of ethics or donít have one. Why adopt policies and procedures and codes when we canít enforce them or we donít abide by them.
Audience: (A single clapper
Judy Hood: What about the silent owner?
Councilwoman V. Judy Brugh: What about them Judy? What about them?
Judy Hood: Well they should be included too.
Councilwoman V. Judy Brugh: Well they are ainít they in the code of ethics?
Judy Hood: No I donít think so.
Councilwoman V. Judy Brugh: I think they are.
Judy Hood: No theyíre not.
Councilwoman V. Judy Brugh: Yes they are. If you are eluding to me being a silent owner, you got your wires crossed woman.
Judy Hood: No I donít.
Councilwoman V. Judy Brugh: Yes you do.
Judy Hood: (other person coughing in background) (Inaudible) a silent owner.
Councilwoman V. Judy Brugh: I am not a silent owner. You guys donít know how to read your material do you?
Judy Hood: You donít exactly know what youíre doing either.
Councilwoman V. Judy Brugh: Chairman please call the this meeting to order or I will have this woman removed.
Judy Hood: There you go again.
Megan Brugh: Shutup.
Judy Hood: No I donít have to.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Hey lets have some order you guys. Come on lets have some order. Yes Mark.
Mark Fox: (Inaudible)just a little bit about, kind of what weíre focusing on. The overall purpose is and there is a purpose to be served. Which is we want to prevent (inaudible) to govern. And having to go through a fact, (inaudible) of control. And so you got to adopt an ethics ordinance. (Inaudible) and make it an effective (inaudible). In an ideal world, you would have that. You would have situations of (inaudible) where you raised them and present them and (inaudible) existing business or otherwise. But you also (inaudible). Some of the things you are talking about. (Inaudible) family members with the same conflict of interest. Your brother, sister, mother, father, inaudible). The point Iím trying to get at is there is a reason to have this type of ordinance. I donít think itís right for usage though at this point in time. Thereís some things you have to do to correct it, to be able to apply it. A number of things that you have to do. I would say at this point in time, a couple of things; but if you just take one portion at this point in time and say we are going to apply it in one given circumstance. Somebody on the council has a business in the oil field industry and you just say at this point in time (inaudible) not moving on it and you apply it to just that individual. At this point in time, I would have to say that you are violating this individuals civil rights. (Inaudible) due process protection of law. You canít take that law and now apply it to one given phase and ignore all others. And a very important point was raised by Councilman Strahs. Where do you draw the line? Is it just oil field business or is it ranching. Is it construction? Is it (inaudible)? All these things have to be defined and they have to be further developed. Itís not ready at this point in time. Until you do that, youíre going to have some difficulty. Youíre going to run into some problems. (Inaudible) because youíre saying one particular business and one particular person. Whoís going to be, the laws going to be held against but no others and that would be (inaudible) violation (inaudible).
Steve Kelly: I believe youíre probably talking about taking property and the difference here is; is the ordinance was in place when the Chairman ran. The Chairman new it was there and I havenít said that. Iíd like to offer a compromise. Let him make some sense. Chairman when you came in and had a rig with Enerplus and a rig with Petro-Hunt. And I donít know what you had on your (inaudible) but why donít we limit to what you had when you came in because thatís what the people knew you had when you got elected and leave it at that.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Is there a particular rig that youíre concerned about orÖ
Steve Kelly: Yeah you took, I want my Williams rig back. The Zenergy rig.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Whatís the number on it?
Steve Kelly: 96. You stay with Petro-Hunt, You stay with Enerplus. Iíll leave those alone. Just leave my stuff alone, thatís all I ask.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Just a little concerned about, Iím willing to work with you Steve. Iím just a little concerned about the process and our overall ethics board you know for any future ethics complaints. Iím concerned about the big, you know for everybody. Iím willing to discuss with you personally on that.
Steve Kelly: The one reason the people brought up Frank. You know Franks gotta, minerals that he gets rid of and he competes (inaudible) on the minerals but he works it out with them and thatís why you havenít seen anyone come in here. Now if you do the same, I donít think people will come in here either. And now Iím not after the rigs that you had when you were running. I just donít want you coming after mine. And I surely, surely donít want to pull the Kisar call and (inaudible) getting smart with me on the phone.
Karen Rabbithead: Itís up to those rigs if they want to work with him.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Thatís an overall issue and I agree with that Steve.
Steve Kelly: So do I but thereís facts there that you guys donít even have a clue about. SoÖ
Karen Rabbithead: You donít have a clue about what you did to us when you left here. Blackrock loose are (inaudible). Talk about ethics Steve.
Steve Kelly: Well why donít you sue me for it then?
Karen Rabbithead: Yeah I should.
Steve Kelly: Do it.
Karen Rabbithead: Should.
Steve Kelly: Prove it.
Karen Rabbithead: You ainít even worth it.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Hey, Hey you guys.
Steve Kelly: Thatís where I stand.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Stick to the issue.
Steve Kelly: You know Chairman Iím gonna. Mr. Chairman?
Male Voice: (Inaudible in background).
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Yeah thatís the overall thing we need the ethics board.
Male Voice: (Inaudible in the background).
Steve Kelly: I donít mind coming in to talk to you when we have a problem, we might get a little testy with one another, we can see eye to eye, but this side show stuff is uncalled for. You know people come in here, we should be respected. You know then we shouldnít have to put up with that. Itís just not me.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Well you know when you start mouthing off Steve, people will mouth off back.
Steve Kelly: Well no one asked for that one comment it was uncalled for. That came out of now where.
Hank Bolman: Mr. Chairman Iíd like to make a request. Iíd like to um, request that Karen Stevens be removed from this room. For one thing, for unprofessional conduct she made the last time I was here and the comment you made when I let, when I was gone. Nothing was said when I was sitting here. You waited until I left. And the comments you made; Yeah them people are like that. Iím sorry but we took care of her dad till he died. Her grandfather, we took care of him till he died. If Weíre like that apologize for it.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: What comment did I make Hanks when you were gone?
Hank Bolman: You said something about you take money out of your own pocket.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: To help you.
Hanks Bolman: Did you say how much you wanted back, $30,000.00. And you knew I was in a hard position to run my company.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: I did say that Hanks. I said Iím surprise Hanks is coming in for first of all for, blood related and I lent him money and I was response to you said, you never help me. You said, Tex you never help me and I said I did help him. I helped him with my own personal $15,000.00. So I did. Thatís why I said that.
Hank Bolman: But you donít talk about relatives, you donít treat relatives they way you treat me. Iím even unable to treat relatives they way you treat me. Iím maybe even unable to work because your influence.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: You said I didnít help you thatís why I made the comment I did help you. I gave you $15,000.00 loan.
Tiffany Johnson: What difference does that make, you signed it.
Hank Bolman: Thatís $30,000.00 back, I needed that money.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: You gave zero back.
Tiffany Johnson: (Inaudible) your collateral (inaudible).
Hank Bolman: How can I possibly work out there with your influence out there? Thatís all Iím saying.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Hank Iím not telling people donít hire Bolman Roust-about. Why would I do that? I have no desire, we donít even do the same work. I donít do roust-about.
Hank Bolman: Those oil companies out there they still believe that you have full power over the whole reservation. Councilmember donít have a say, that you have sole power of everything. And they are not understanding that you donít youíre just one vote. All these oil companies need to realize that. They think that your anythingÖ
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Iím still not calling people and saying donít hire Roust-about, Bolman Roust-about.
Hank Bolman: EOG told me, they said, asked me before the election how you think things will go. You take (inaudible). Its going to be a Johnson field and thatís exactly the way it happened and they went to him because to keep you happy. They thought you have sole power. They donít realize you donít.
Chiarman Tex G. Hall: I certainly donít. Iím one vote like you said.
Steve Kelly: So where do we stand?
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Ethics Board and Iíd be willing to talk with you after the meeting.
Steve Kelly: Kay. Thatís fine by me. Thatís the way youíd.
Tiffany Johnson: The Chairmanís doing his job without a salary.
Hank Bolman: He donít need a salary, heís making his millionaire without it
Tiffany Johnson: Heís a hard worker. Johnsonís know how to work to Hanks.
Donna Morgan: Chairman Hall may I say something please?
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Yes Donna.
Donna Morgan: You know we have to show respect for our Chairman. I know you come along kinda upset. And your probably all upset right now, but we have to take our chairman under consideration at this time. He lost his sister a little over a month ago. And heís been busy, with other issues. And this is a form of disrespect. The family has been through a lot these past two months. We must stop and start working together. Present ourselves in a professional manner.
Thatís not a tact, his families been through a lot and heís still in the morning stage. And we have to come back to our cultural way of life, our spiritual and stop attacking. We have issues here and we can work them out. And the emphasis right now is the ethics ordinance. There is none and we have addressed it Steve. But I ask you please consider our Chairman. Thank you.
Steve Kelly: Yeah I donít mean any disrespect. I donít view myself as attacking. Come in here, I view myself as defending. Defending my interests. Thatís basically it. Iím asking for what you took, to give it back to me.
Shane Johnson: I understand what youíre saying. Youíre thinking thereís other things in play. I get calls right out of Tulsa, Oklahoma saying you flew down there and like a bull in a china shop slung the old horns around and it worked for Zenergy. I lost work. You know what I did? I worked harder to get it back. I didnít go whine to TERO to the council or nothing. (Inaudible) whether thatís B.S. Iím not accusing you of doing that. Iím saying, youíre saying that these other phone calls were made. The same thing happened to me.
Steve Kelly: I ah, you know it is B.S. Shane and you know it and weíve had this discussion before. That was (inaudible) on a mud job to try to get a mud job. Which I got.
Charles Foote: You know Iím the TERO Director. I donít think work out there is like a piece of pie. You get a smudge and the other guy gets a smudge. Ok you letís make a deal, you take this and Iíll take this. Thatís not what free enterprise is about. Thatís not what Indian preference is about. Its bidding those jobs, getting the work. If you do get work, you can keep those jobs if you want to pay me but you still have to be within, you know (inaudible) within whatever they said at that price. (Inaudible) you know you should, you will get the work and in a month or two thereís so much work out there that we donít have enough companies to do the work. You know everybody and practically right now everybody is working. We canít even fill the jobs that we have. Last week I donít even know how many oil companies were calling for truckers. The workers were all busy. But you know, I just want to make that point. That you do good work, youíll get the work.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: Well I certainly agree Charles. Sounds like a TERO Director there thatís certainly true. There is so much work out there.
Steve Kelly: I agree with everything thatís been said along the lines that is true. But our ethics ordinance says what it says for a reason and if weíre not going to enforce it, and if it doesnít apply, letís make that clear. I donít want to come here wasting my time. But you know, its just like. Chairman do you remember when Dick Cheney was in there and Halliburton and (inaudible) brought all that work because heís the vice-chair. Our Vice-president, you know and we benefitted from that with FBDC. And everyone said weíll have nothing to do with them but they got more gall dang contracts then they ever had before and so there is influence there whether, you know we want it bided or not. and thatís why we have it in the ordinance. And if we are not going to enforce it then I wonít bother.
Chairman Tex G. Hall: I donít think we said that, I think we said we have a resolution that had a board that was in place in 2008 and weíre looking at those attorney that were on that resolution and weíre going to put it on the agenda at the next meeting.
Councilman Mervin Packineau: Maybe we should let it go at that, that we are going to put that in place at the next meeting. And we have four members, we just looked up the resolution. They were contacted they showed interests, so weíre going to go at them again. And this has been discussed for many meetings since 08 that weíve always been trying to get this board together. For what ever reason it just doesnít come together. But I think you know to find a good place to end this on. You know everybodyís gonna leave here on pretty good terms. Rather then have everybody at each otherís backs. This is not what we are about as Indian people from this tribe. You know none of us were raised this way. We respect each other and if we have something come up between us we usually work it out we donít just air our dirty laundry. Even though a lot of laundry has been aired but I think we got to realize as a council and as a people that we have to get this ordinance and move forward. Thatís why we have boards and a place to deal with such situations as this so it donít come to here and we donít have people sitting here pitting people against each other. Because you know from what I see politics is ripping our reservation apart as we sit here today and it shouldnít be. And a lot of times you know go through bad things and you become stronger and hopefully you donít become strong as a tribe because of this but once you get the ethics board in place and maybe I can get this ranching thing out of my hair. (laughs) If somebody wants to replace my 20 cows I lost this winter Iíd be more than happy. I donít think we should go on any more on this Mr. Chairman. We know what we need to do to get that in place and move forward.
Roger Bird Bear: Pardon me I would just like to say one thing, you know its not just the deal that the Chairman is trying to make with Steve, this is a tribal matter. An injury has occurred because of a violation. This is a tribal matter that matters to the people. This is a serious matter and thatís why I even brought it here. An injury has occurred. So there is an issue.
Hank Bolman: I would like to make one more comment; all weíre here for is to ask for the fairness. You know do whatís right and wrong thatís all weíre asking. Fairness out there in the oil field, politics stay out of it.
Steve Kelly: Thank you.
Hank Bolman: Thank you.
REPORT OF THE TRANSITION TEAM
Chairman Tex Hall
Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation
February 25, 2011
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. Tasking of the Transition Team 5
II. Data Collection Process 5
III. Findings of the Transition Team 6
IV. Review of Small Loans & Independence Program 7 (Under separate cover)
V. Housing Program 8
a. Fort Berthold Housing Authority 8
b. Dreamcatcher Housing Program 8
c. 210 Home Project 9
d. HIP Program 10
e. Elder Homes 10
VI. Law and Order 11
VII. Oil and Gas and IMDAs 11
1. Williams Oil 13
2. Arrow Pipeline 14
3. Mineral Leases on Allotted Lands 14
4. Taxation Ė State vs. Tribe 15
5. Right-of-ways 16
VII Travel Costs 16
1. Airfare and Perdiem 16
2. Local Mileage 17
3. Tribal Vehicles 17
VIII Cell Phones 18
IX Grants, Honoria, Financial & Medical Assistance 19
X Health and Human Services 20
XI Review of Tribal Business Council Actions 21
XII Tribal Budget 22
XIII Tribal Debt 22
XIV Tribal Business Enterprises 23
XV Transparency of Tribal Government 23
XVI Constitution Ė Separation of Powers 24
XVII Tribal Boards 25
XVIII Tribal Vision 25
XVIV Summary 25
1. Audit 28
2. Develop a Vision for the Fort Berthold Reservation 28
3. Constitution Revision 28
4. Convert All Tribally Owned Fee Land To Trust 28
5. Oil and Gas Task Force 28
6. Internal Audit Board 29
7. Taxation 29
8. Oil and Gas Lines 29
9. Housing 30
10. Law and Order 30
11. Travel 31
12. Tribal Vehicles 31
13. Cell Phones 32
15. Health and Human Services 32
16. Transparency 33
17. IPAs 33
18. Right-of-Ways 34
19. Building Tribal Financial Capacity and Infrastructure 34
20. Tribal Businesses 34
21. Department of Public Works 34
22. Government Capacity 35
23. Zoning 35
I TASKING THE TRANSITION TEAM
On November 13, 2010, Chairman Tex Hall announced the appointment of a Tribal Transition Team and tasked them to (1) gather information and supportive documents, (2) to conduct a review of several key areas in Tribal financial administration and management of Tribal programs, (3) to report their findings to him, and (5) to make recommendations for addressing each issue raised in the report.
II. DATA COLLECTION PROCESS
The Team collected and reviewed financial records, minutes of the Tribal Business Council (TBC) meetings and TBC resolutions that were available, tribal communication media i.e.: MHA Times, KMHA Radio, comments posted on the elbowoods.com web site, heard their concerns and recommendations for improving the delivery of the Chairmanís Action News and other news media. The Team met with individual tribal members and tribal employees and program directors and tribal services to the members of the tribe.
The major issue for this report was the tracking of tribal funds. The Team accessed the tribal finance system and compiled data on expenditures by the Council and individual Council Representatives. This report is included in the exhibits and it clearly shows how funds have been expended.
The TAT have far too many programs and businesses to review in the time allowed for this project, however, the Team was able to review the key program areas we felt were most vulnerable to mismanagement under the present system of government.
It has been extremely difficult to obtain dependable information without the authority to subpoena or obtain testimony under oath. Therefore, our first recommendation is to refrain from releasing the names of individuals who are either a part of this review, or are under review, until investigators empowered with authority to subpoena data and obtain testimony under oath are able to verify or disagree with our findings and/or obtain credible evidence of any charges of wrongdoing.
III FINDINGS OF THE TRANSITION TEAM
The Team found numerous financial transactions that appear to be in
violation of standard government business practices. There are instances where we have identified ethical violations and suspect criminal activity based on our review of ďPrinciples of Ethical Conduct for Government Officers and EmployeesĒ , the U.S. Code for Offense Against Public AdministrationĒ and the .
Significantly, several Tribal Programs appear to be lacking operating policies and procedures and there are other programs that fail to comply with the policies and procedures that are in place. There appears to be no usable property management system or fiscal controls that assure accountability of tribal property. There are no records of requests to purchase, advertisement for competitive prices, cost, funding source, location of property or identification of the person responsible for the property. A functional property management system is mandatory to prevent waste fraud and abuse of tribal property.
There does not appear to have been consistent enforcement of any policies or procedures established by the council. The entire operation of the Tribe, in fact, whether it involved the leasing of valuable tribal minerals, the hiring of qualified individuals to carry out the business of the Tribe, the determination of employee wages, the awarding of houses, the use of tribal property and equipment, the disbursing of funds for financial and medical assistance, borrowing or spending limits or the purchasing of goods and services appears to have been conducted on a day-to-day, micromanaged, politically-driven process dominated by the TBC, either as individuals, committees or the Council as a whole.
We cannot find any evidence of attempts made to institute workable procedures in any aspect of the Tribal management structure. This chaotic system amply allowed for theft and misuse of Tribal property and resources, as well as self-enrichment by the members of the Tribal Business Council and their families, upper management and/or politically well-connected Tribal employees.
Based on the budgeting process where there is no official adopted budget for the tribe and therefore no control of spending, it appears that the Tribe has been spending tremendous amounts of money without a reasoned, informed vision of where we want to go in the future.
Nepotism in hiring by the TBC has been an accepted practice. Nepotism is demoralizing and causes tension and ill feelings that divide our tribe and tribal staff and is disruptive to the work place.
It is our opinion that the tribe has many talented individuals who would like to do a good job but are demoralized because of the poor atmosphere in the work place. It is also frustrating for the programs when they cannot pay their vendors due to insufficient funds in the general fund. In addition, it is difficult to obtain quality work from employees who have no job security and whose jobs are threatened if they question TBC actions. There are many well qualified tribal members who are reluctant to work for the tribe for fear of becoming involved in a political situation where they may be fired.
Several of the program directors stated their program was overstaffed due to appointments made by former Chairman Levings. Overstaffing is costly to the tribe and again contributes to low morale among the staff.
The Team met with a member of the audit firm, McGladrey & Pullen, LLP
and discussed audits in general. From our discussion the Team feels that the audits sampling methodology is not sufficient to identify and report wrong doings. The auditors do not know family relationships and therefore do not recognize conflicts of interests as the Team members do. Marcus Levings boasted of a clean audit during the recent campaign, yet the Team has identified several transactions that are very questionable.
The Team submits the following comments and recommendations on items reviewed. We also submit, under separate cover, a file of documents indexed to assist the reader to readily find documents that support the findings.
IV. REVIEW OF SMALL LOANS & INDEPENDENCE PROGRAM
The review of small loans and the Independence Program was a major project and is submitted under separate cover.
V. HOUSING PROGRAMS
Members of the Transition Committee met with Barb Pegg, Acting Director, Fort Berthold Housing Authority and Lawrence Baker, Acting Director, Housing Improvement & 210 Home Initiative. Our findings in the housing programs are as follows:
Housing on the Ft. Berthold Reservation is administered by the Ft. Berthold Housing Authority (FBHA), the Dream Catcher Program, the Housing Improvement Program (HIP), the 210 Homes Program, and the Tribal Housing Program. These programs are all under the control of the TBC. During the years of November 2006 to November 2010, we found widespread evidence that the TBC has micromanaged them all. Further, from the evidence our Team was able to obtain, they are all in turmoil.
1. Fort Berthold Housing Authority:
The FBHA Director has written a letter to the TBC stating that the program only had enough funding to operate until the end of February 2011. There is also concern that NAHASDA funds may have been misapplied by the TBC.
Upon consultation with FBHA Acting Director, it has been determined that this program currently does not have the management expertise and ability to properly manage and account for the 34 Dreamcatcher Units in the Northern Lights Subdivision due to the complexities of mortgages and the unique financing package the program was created under.
2. Dream Catcher Program
Just before the 2010 election, Former Chairman Levings issued a notice to residents of the Dream Catcher housing program which stated that the paperwork was completed to reduce their payments to $400.00 per month. We could find no evidence (minutes or resolution) authorizing this action; such behavior lends the strong impression that Tribal resources (the reduction of the payments for the houses) were used to garner votes.
Monthly mortgage and homeowner insurance payments are being made by the Tribe in excess of $1,000.00 per month per house. Property taxes are paid annually by the Tribe on the entire Northern Lights subdivision. The $400 per month payment falls far short of paying for the homes and the Tribe may yet be liable for the entire payment for these homes. We understand that a number of homeowners in this program are in arrears.
Further, it is unclear who is administering the Dream Catcher Program for the Tribe at this time.
3. 210 Home Project
The 210 Home Initiative Program is in shambles. The committee is aware that only a few of these houses were constructed under this program. However, we have been unable to gather files, resolutions of authorization, promissory notes, contracts, or leases, or any other necessary documentation for the homes that were built under this 210 home program initiative. We were advised that the former Director had removed the files and the computer from the office and refused to return them. Further, the current Director informed the Team that he could not obtain any signed mortgages or agreements with the potential homeowners. Also, there is no master plan that includes the landscaping, access roads or streets and leases, rights-of-way, and there appears to be no quality control for the project.
The awarding of homes to home owners was strictly a political process. The first announcement by Levingsí office regarding these homes said they would total 200 homes, would be paid for with the Tribeís oil income, and that each Segment Representative on the Council would Ďgetí 30 homes to award at their discretion, and Chairman Levings would Ďgetí 20. TBC members are quoted in the Tribal and local newspapers as referring to ďtheirĒ 30 homes, and former Chairman Levings is quoted as stating that the awarding of these homes was strictly at the discretion of the TBC. The total number of homes was increased to 210, according to the MHA Times story, which also quoted the former Director as saying she had found resources to build 10 extra homes, as former Chairman Levings Ďdeserved to have 30 homesí (to award) just like the other members of the TBC.
Several members of the TBC selected family members and/or relatives to receive a home under the 210 and HIP projects.
There is no documentation as to how the normal pre-construction activities, such as selection of home owners, design of floor plans, specifications, advertisement for bids, TERO requirements, environmental or archeological clearances were carried out, or if they were carried out at all. It also appears that the manager of this program was not qualified for this assignment.
4. HIP Program
With the separation of the Housing Improvement Program, under the administration of Jackie Jackson, we have not been able to gather files of the H.I.P cliental, budgets, program correspondence, 638 contract files and computers owned by the federally mandated program. Thus, itís recommended that court action be taken to redeem all federal property. This situation may place the Tribe and FBHA in violation of federal record keeping regulations and laws.
Here again, it appears that the selection process for home recipients was strictly a political process, and the Director clearly failed to follow regulations set forth by the Home Improvement Program of the Department of Interior.
5. Elder Homes
The selection of homes for the elderly has also been political and homes have been given to elders who have limited time remaining and the homes has been constructed on their property. This practice does little to serve the housing needs for the elderly since once the elder passes on, the house passes on to their family and is not available for another elder. Homes have been constructed for those who can well afford to buy their homes while those in dire need go without.
VI LAW AND ORDER ISSUES
The Team met with Elmer Four Dance from the Aberdeen Regional Law and Order program and he informed the Team that his office was conducting a review of the Law and Order Program on the reservation and it would be completed in the near future. A report of his review will be provided when it is completed.
From discussions with the general public, police officers and former police officers and employees of the tribal court, we submit the following comments:
· Totally inadequate number of police officers, who are able to pass background checks, to provide police protection to the people of Fort Berthold. There is a need for police officers who can pass background checks, for our protection in order to provide assurance that we are being served by properly qualified, trained professionals.
· Jurisdiction issues between Tribe, County, City, State and Federal create a law enforcement nightmare. This is a critical issue that needs immediate resolution in the best interest of the people and not the best interests of a government entity.
· Here again intervention by Council members in the arrests and court actions has been a problem that law enforcement personnel for fear of retaliation.
· The general consensus was that the Law and Order Program should be retroceded back to the BIA
VII OIL AND GAS AND IMDAs
The discovery of the Bakken oil and gas reserves is one of the great events in the history of our reservation. It can be a blessing or a curse depending on how we manage the development of this resource. It can be our once in a lifetime opportunity to have financial resources to exercise our sovereign rights and develop our tribal government to enable us to terminate our dependency on others. Or it can be an opportunity for the State to establish their authority to tax and extend their jurisdiction over the reservation.
President Barack Obama announced U.S. support for the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the White House Tribal Conference on Dec. 16 which says ďIndigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their land or territories and other resources.Ē This endorsement opens a new era in Tribal/US Government relations at a time when Congress is proposing serious reductions in federal dollars for Indian country. The TAT need to take advantage of this new relationship and exercise their sovereignty to develop their resources, eliminate their dependency on federal dollars and enjoy the quality of life they have all dreamed of.
The UN Declaration states that indigenous people are entitled to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). Free is consent that is given freely, by people fully informed of the consequences, prior to any decision being made, and according to their own decision-making processes.
Prior means that indigenous people understand and are involved in a decision making process and have the opportunity to give or withhold their consent during the early planning stages (for example, before auctioning exploration concessions) before a project becomes an economic or political inevitability, and the participation and consent process continues through the design and implementation phases of the project.
The FPIC process was certainly not implemented for the oil and gas development on Fort Berthold Reservation and we find ourselves deeply in debt with a dysfunctional tribal government.
Unitizing and flipping of leases has and is occurring without the mineral owners consent and much to their disadvantage.
The IMDAís must be scrutinized to ensure that all companies are fulfilling their drilling commitments. Spotted Hawk, for example, has 37,000 tribal acres, has drilled 1 well in 2 years. This means the rest of acres are held hostage and undeveloped by a company that has no real expertise in drilling or financing to support an increased drilling plan. One well in two years is not in the best interests of the Tribe or the Allottees.
1. Williams Oil
On November 16, 2010, the Tulsa World published an article stating that the Williams Cos. Inc. is purchasing 85,000 acres of mineral leases from a private owner on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation for a price of $925 million. This was startling and disgusting news to the tribal members who are the owners of the minerals.
A major share of the 85,000 acres of mineral leases is the acreage awarded to Spencer Wilkinson by the TBC. How did a tribal manager, who was under contract to generate money for the tribe, convince the TBC to award him mineral leases to make $925 million for himself instead of the tribe? He was obviously a front for investors who intended to exploit our minerals for self-gain and they have done just that. How did the TBC turn a blind eye to the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation Ethics in Government Ordinance and approve this lease without question, without consultation, and without expert advice?
This is the largest exploitation of tribal minerals in the history of this country and the sad part of this whole deal is that we did this to ourselves. Our cultural ways of sharing have been overtaken by greed and self-interests.
What are the options for the Tribal members, who are the owners of the
minerals, to address this transgression? Should they demand 80% of the $925 million as a TBC resolution states? Should they demand the whole $925 million since Spencer was under contract with the tribe and did not have a waiver from the code of Ethics to permit his self-dealing? Should they exercise their right under Article VI Ė Powers of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Three Affiliated Tribes that states: ďany power exercised through the Council shall be subject to a popular referendumĒ and demand a referendum on the TBC resolution approving Spencerís IMDA?
The TAT must demand that from here forward, all deals involving Tribal minerals, have a fair and open consultation process with the tribal members to ensure that the arrangements for production are in our best interests and that we are genuinely maximizing our interests & resources. Gone are the days of passive leases.
2. Arrow Pipeline
TBC has approved a number of pipelines without a comprehensive plan to provide a coordinated gathering system serving the reservation oil and gas industry in a safe, regulated and sustainable. Arrow Pipeline being an example. The TBC entered into a business arrangement and approved an exclusive right-of-way, called a ďno compete clauseĒ. Is this legal under our Constitution? The oil companies invite competition to give the owners; the Allottees & the Tribe a choice.
From the limited date available, our observation is that this arrangement was
entered into by the TBC without a thorough legal review of the contract or
analysis of the financial structure and business projection normally
associated with multimillion dollar investments. The tribe has already
defaulted on millions of dollars required in the agreement. They have not
provided the tribe any assurance that they will have a significant/sufficient
number of producers utilizing this pipeline to ever generate revenue where
we can recover any of our monies or see new revenue. Without a properly
planned oil and gas gathering system (s) and or a pipeline, these open flares are lost revenue for the owners and a hazard to our environment. It leads
immediately to the traffic safety issue we are all faced with every day. A
pipeline, or pipelines, would significantly reduce truck traffic.
Two of the TBC members; one is no longer on TBC, are Managing Partners of Arrow Pipeline. This is another violation of the Ethics Ordinance. An elected official cannot own interests in or conduct business with any oil and gas company. Again, why is Spencer Wilkinson Jr., who was the Casino Manager, also a Managing Partner of Arrow Pipelines?
The Formation of Arrow Pipeline, LLC is very controversial and needs to be
3. Mineral Leases on Allotted Lands
The Bakken hit the Fort Berthold Reservation like a tsunami. Oil companies hired local tribal members, who were not educated in the leasing business, to obtain signatures of individual tribal members on a BIA form that authorized the BIA to sign a mineral lease that contained the terms of the lease without any further consultation with the mineral owner. The mineral owners were never provided the actual lease document. Those who solicited signatures had no formal training on the terms of the leases or the consequences of signing the consent form. There was again, no consultation with the owners of the minerals by anyone who was well informed on the legality or terms of the lease document which was never provided to the owners. This wave of action came at a time when many were living on the edge of poverty and were vulnerable to signing for dollars without asking technical questions about the process. For instance they were not informed on the unitization and flipping of leases which are to their disadvantage or the taxes and implications of roads and oil and gas lines on their land.
Where was the Trustee of the land during this process? The Trustee has had eight different Superintendents serving the Fort Berthold Agency during the past eleven years. What was their knowledge of oil and gas?
4. Taxation - State vs. Tribal
Marcus Levings signed an ďOil and Gas Tax Agreement between the Three Affiliated Tribes and State of North DakotaĒ on January 13, 2010.
We are all aware that State and Tribal agreements such as this set precedence for Indian Tribes nationwide. We are also aware that ďThe exercise of state jurisdiction over activities occurring entirely on Indian lands is an infringement on inherent tribal authority and is contrary to principles of self-government and tribal sovereigntyĒ.
The Team can find no evidence that Marcus Levings had any consultation with any of the other tribes in North Dakota relating to state taxation on Indian reservations.
At the very least, Marcus should have negotiated a consent to support gaming on the lake and return of the shoreline excess lands which the Governor has been opposed to.
The rights-of-way for roads and oil and gas lines are a major issue that will have major consequences. The projected development of roads on the reservation shows that they will open up our reservation to the public trespass, destroy the landscape of our scenic reservation and create safety and environmental issues. What forces and authority does the state have to monitor trespass, safety and environmental violations on trust land?
As we mentioned earlier in this report, ďThe exercise of state jurisdiction over activities occurring entirely on Indian lands is and infringement of self-government and tribal sovereignty.Ē All the oil and gas lines owned by the Oil and Gas Companies will be taxed by the state.
This is a major issue that demands immediate attention by the TBC. Tribal members are being asked to sign ROW documents without being informed of the full consequences by the Tribe or the Trustee.
It may be in the best interests of the Oil Companies and the Tribe to negotiate an agreement that would relieve the Oil Companies of their problems of obtaining right-of-ways and also benefit the Tribe.
VII TRAVEL COSTS
1. Airfare and Per Diem
Our review of travel costs for the TAT reveals that the TAT has been paying enormous amounts for travel for many years. Council members and staff have taken advantage of our loosely run government to enjoy unlimited travel. The records show the TAT has also paid for family members to travel with the council members. Certain council representatives and friends have traveled to national events such as the Indian National Finals Rodeo and other major events where the TBC is conducting no business on behalf of the membership. Tribal staff has traveled extensively to questionable places and the Tribe has paid certain individuals to travel for family matters such as attending boot camp graduations.
Travel costs by segment for the past four years are as follows:
West Segment ÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖ..26,942.46
Four Bears SegmentÖÖÖÖÖÖÖ..91,604.36
The Tribe paid Satrom Travel Agency approximately $747,725.64 for travel cost during the period of 07 through 10 and $214,253.11 to Auto Club for travel costs during the years of 08 and 09.
The cost of new vehicles, vehicle insurance, mileage, vehicle repairs and operating expenses, credit card purchases and charge accounts at gas stations must also be added to the overall travel costs. The tribe is paying an enormous cost for travel.
2. Local Mileage
The Tribe is paying a very large amount of money for local mileage. Here again the Team did not have the time or access to verify requests for mileage. However; it appears that several employees and councilmen have received unreasonably high payments for mileage.
3. Tribal Vehicles
The council uses Resolution #95 - 179 - DSB as authorization for the Tribal Treasurer and Chairman to purchase vehicles and it appears as though Council members are purchasing vehicles with without properly advertising for bids or utilizing standard procurement regulations. This practice results in purchasing expensive vehicles where a much cheaper vehicle would serve the same purpose. The tribal property and supply office reports their vehicle inventory is not reliable and they are in the process of updating it.
Council members have purchased expensive vehicles with tribal funds and registered them in their personal name rather than the Tribeís. The records are not clear how the council members are making payments to the tribe for these vehicles and whether they are paying interest and insurance or whether the tribe is listed on the title and insurance for collateral purposes. This practice would not be allowed in any other government.
The ND Motor Vehicle Division reports a total of 268 vehicles registered to the TAT under 83 different owner records. Several Tribal programs have vehicles registered in their names and have license plates that do not begin with TAT.
The Tribeís insurance providers report 358 vehicles insured while the Tribal Property and Supply Office reports 220 vehicles in the tribal vehicle inventory. Obviously there is a discrepancy in these reports, however, these figures show that the Tribe may be paying for insurance on vehicles they do not have.
The records show that the Tribe paid over $962,000.00 for vehicle insurance
During the past four years.
The maintenance and operating costs of Tribal vehicles considerable and must also be factored into the cost of operating Tribal vehicles.
VIII CELL PHONES
The use of cell phone appears to be out of control. The tribe paid $1,538,996.71 for cell phone use during the years 2009 and 2010. Too many phones are issued to employees and it is manifestly evident that several employees are using their cell phones for private purposes. This is costing the tribe huge amounts of money and constitutes fraud and waste.
IX GRANTS, HONORIA, FINANCIAL & MEDICAL ASSISTANCE
Under the line item of ďOther Operating Costs Donations & GrantsĒ the TBC and council members have spent the following amounts during the past four years from their accounts.
Fund 300 Four Bears 479,513.01
Fund 310 Mandaree 402,066.43
Fund 320 Parshall 1,164,181.76
Fund 322 424,269.60
Fund 330 White Shield 2,866,313.51
Fund 340 Twin Buttes 888,490.51
Fund 350 Executive-Chairman 3,499,020.65
Fund 360 New Town 796,902.00
Fund 380 TBC Actions 25,694,994.91
Fund 8060 Medical Emergency 692,436.92
Financial and Medical Assistance grants have been misused by certain tribal members and members of the TBC. Example: An employee in 2010 received $11,909.00 in financial assistance while that employee and their spouseís annual salaries totaled $114,483.00. Other individuals have received large amounts up to $15,870 in one year.
The financial assistance that is given out to certain families during the months prior to the election clearly demonstrates why incumbents are difficult to defeat in tribal elections. It also reveals how the council representatives have given assistance to members of their family and office staff.
Another costly item for the tribe is funeral assistance. In addition to the wake fund, several members of large families each receive financial assistance for funerals and some funerals become very expensive.
X HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
The Committee met with several of the social programs who expressed their concerns that the people issues were increasing with the development of oil on the reservation and that Human Resources Programs should be a high priority for the tribe.
Families in need of counseling and support services, do not receive those services when they go directly to their council representative for assistance. The money being handed out by the TBC for financial and medical assistance could be much more effective if it were budgeted to the Human Resource Programs who have the professionals to interview and most effectively assist those individuals.
The statistics provided by the programs demonstrate a real need for more dollars to provide services such as family counseling for domestic violence offenders, follow up services for those who are released from treatment for drug and alcohol abuse, shelters for abused women and foster care for children.
The Minne Tohe Health Center is burdened with many issues that need immediate attention:
· Clinic is micro-managed by 3 Council Members who do not understand health care management.
· Clinic is over-staffed with ďnon-medicalĒ, ďnon-professionalĒ people. It is used as an ďemployment sourceĒ for those political favorites who are given a place to work and have a salary with no concern about their function, or the needs of the clinic, or whether their being hired takes away from the clinics main mission of providing quality health care, or the effect on staff morale.
· Contract health care is critically affected by politics and not by
medical need. There is a very serious credit problem with all vendors because of unpaid bills, including hospitals and clinics that we refer patients to.
· The Clinic does not have its own financial system, therefore all income generated from 638 contracts, third party billing or any other source of revenue from the clinic goes into a TAT General Fund. This money is then dispersed as needed thru out the organization and not necessarily used for health care.
· The new clinic building is a disaster, and if allowed to be completed as such will create a ďhealth deliverĒ nightmare. We are probably better off with keeping the current clinic situation as it exists.
XI REVIEW OF TRIBAL BUSINESS COUNCIL ACTIONS
From our review of the council minutes there appears to be a special relationship among the 7 council members where they all support each other on their motions and special interests. There appears to be no regard for ethics in the daily operations of TBC proceedings. The tribal council minutes reveal that there has seldom been a dissenting vote or discussion on motions and votes are generally unanimous. The minutes only state that a discussion took place on an issue and do not describe the discussion so the reader can understand what the discussion was. In addition, there have been far too many closed sessions since all tribal business should be open to the public.
There have been several instances where council members have made motions, seconded motions, and voted on motions involving members of their family. This appears to be a conflict of interest that needs to be addressed.
The TBC passed a resolution to approve the hiring of individuals with felony convictions in management positions. It is not normal for any government or business to allow felons to be in management and control of financials responsibilities. This practice needs corrective action immediately.
The politics in personnel issues is costing the tribe thousands of dollars. Motions have been approved to give an employee a salary increase of $10.00 per hour. There are employees that have been reassigned with an increase in salary and no job description. This practice is quite frequent and there are several employees filling in positions that are unproductive.
There appears to be a lack of council actions to develop tribal capacity to govern commerce, develop tax codes, and develop a zoning ordinance or any laws for long term governance of the tribe.
There have been votes taken on important issues where two or more members of the council participated by phone. There is no provision in the constitution approving voting by phone and these votes should be challenged.
We must remember that all tribal funds belong to all tribal members and we expect the council to spend it judiciously, responsibly and in the best interest of the tribal members. The excessive spending on grants, loans, housing, telephones, travel, claims by terminated employees, the LSA law suit and vehicles by the past administration has been very costly.
XII TRIBAL BUDGET
Based on the budgeting process where there is no official adopted budget for the Tribe, no requirement for a balanced budget and no penalties for overspending, it appears that the tribal deficit will continue to increase.
The committee was unable to obtain an approved budget for the council or the segments. It appears that the tribal council is operating on continuing resolutions and does not have a balanced budget based on projected income to the tribe. There evidently is no limit on what each councilman can distribute for financial assistance, medical assistance, etc.
The Team has summarized expenditures for each segment and included those summaries in the exhibits. This review shows a dramatic increase of financial assistance grants prior to the election which leads us to believe that there was widespread vote buying.
XIII TRIBAL DEBT
The Team was advised by the tribal finance office that the tribal debt is over $100 million and there appears to no plan in place to retire that debt.
XIII TRIBAL BUSINESS ENTERPRISES
Over the years, the tribe has invested large amounts of money in business enterprises that have failed to generate income for the Tribe. Management and accountability have been the major reasons for failure. Yet the Tribe has recently started another venture called MHA Holding Co. It is unclear what the purpose of MHA Holding Co. is but there is a council motion to award them a mineral lease. Our question is; where did they get the money for the bonus and who is the manager and what is their experience, expertise or qualifications for such a job. Where did the TAT advertise for a manager? How did the TAT select the manager for this company? Is this just another opportunity to lose money for the tribe? There was another motion to dedicate future oil revenues to MHA Holding Co. This all needs to be reviewed.
The management contracts for Mossett Bay and Pouch Point were reviewed and there appears to be some suspect of irregularities in the collection of rent and services. These operations need to be included in the audit.
The Team did not have time to review 4 Bears Casino other than to obtain a listing of their capital assets. This listing shows the Casino has purchased houses, boats and vehicles from a council representatives, casino employees and tribal members which seem to be a serious violation of ethics and conflict of interests.
There is also a report on the condition of the 4 Bears Lodge that describes the poor condition of the housekeeping. There is no justification for this.
XV TRANSPARENCY OF TRIBAL GOVERNMENT
Based on the comments received from individuals during this study, we conclude the lack of Transparency in our tribal government is the major reason that many enrolled members are confused and uninformed on major developments such as the mineral leasing and the housing program on the reservation. There have been no publications of the tribeís plan of operation for these programs or progress.
The tribe has spent over $200,000 during the past three years to publish the Chairmanís Action News that was limited to documents selected by the Chairman. Our tribe has also spent over $623,000 over the past four years to publish the Mandan Hitatsa Arikara Times that did a good job of reporting on tribal events, however; neither of these publications published the tribal council minutes or resolutions to inform the public on important tribal council issues. The tribe has also spent over $774,000 on the tribal KMHA radio station that does not have a regular news hour to report on reservation news worthy items.
There is no reporting of the police activities or court proceedings as is normal in other societies. Transparency of our tribal finance and programs probably would have avoided many of the issues we are finding today.
XVI CONSTITUTION - SEPARATION OF POWERS & RECALL
The TAT government operates under the authority of a constitution that was adopted in 1932 and has had minor amendments since. This constitution does not require the separation of powers but gives our seven member council full authority to govern on our behalf. It does however state under ARTICLE VI Ė POWERS, Section 1. ďThe Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, acting through their Tribal Business Council, shall have the powers granted by this Article; but any power exercised through that Council shall be subject to a popular referendum as provided by this constitution.
Without separation of powers, there are no checks and balances to assure the membership that our tribal resources are managed in their best interest. In stead our government system may best be described as a ďSpoils SystemĒ where elected representatives can serve themselves before the needy who voted them in their position.
We have gone through five administrations since the TAT were mandated to develop provisions for Recall as part of the JTAC settlement and it has not happened yet. This needs to be included in the revision of the constitution.
XVII TRIBAL BOARDS
At the present time all governing Boards are appointed by the TBC. This practice extends the micromanagement by TBC members to all activities on the reservation. Boards need to have autonomy from the TBC to govern the activity they are responsible for in the best interest of the membership without fear of removal or abolishment of the board. The TBC has had closed sessions on board issues and have removed members and disbanded boards at will. This practice needs to stop. All boards should be required to attend training on the boardís duties, responsibilities and authorities.
XVIII TRIBAL VISION
There is currently no plan or vision for the future of the reservation. As with any project, it is critical that the tribe have a vision and a blueprint of how to achieve that vision. In discussion with the Director of Planning, she has stated that that office will propose a reservation wide planning effort to develop a vision for the Tribe.
During the years leading up to the 2010 election, our Tribal membership was mired in great turmoil and suspicion; in many ways this continues to be the case today. Much of the turmoil has its source in fear of retaliation if one speaks up to address injustice, fraud or corruption. This fear of retaliation is not only for oneself, the individual, but for oneís entire family. Tribal goods and services once open freely to all, have been restricted and made available only to those who are politically connected. Tribal jobs, financial resources, land leases, houses and other Tribal property and wealth has been blatantly used to purchase votes in such a ruthless and unconscionable manner that it has become expected, even commonplace, in our society and this must be eradicated from our Tribal government if Tribal leaders are ever to regain the trust of the members of our Tribe. This can only be done by public, open and transparent discourse with Tribal membership. Only then will healing occur, and only then will our people begin to move forward.
The ancient cultures of the Nueta, Hidatsa and Sanish Peoples have always held that our chiefs are required to put themselves last; they are required to lead sober and responsible lives, to have nothing but kind words for the people, and to provide for those who are least able to provide for themselves. To be asked to serve is an honor, not an occasion to become arrogant, abusive and self-serving.
Instead, many of our modern elected leaders have exploited the Tribeís resources to provide for themselves and their families, they have become bullies and retaliators, and they have forgotten or ignored their duty of kindness, humility and selfless leadership. When such behavior is modeled by our leadership, it stands to reason that the membership will follow, if only because this seems to be the only way to get ahead in this world. Our cultural values must be taken seriously and modeled by our leaders once again Ė a return to humility and a regard and respect for the office one holds is critically necessary today.
These same values and instructions must also guide the behavior of our Tribal employees, especially those that work in and represent the offices of the Chairman and other Council members. There have been concerns expressed to various members of the Transition Team about Tribal membersí treatment by some members of the staff. In order to restore and regain the trust and faith of our people, a sense of professionalism must be coupled with our Tribal values of humility when one has been given the honor of serving the people. Our people are demoralized and embittered; we must recognize this and lead the way for our recovery by modeling good behavior ourselves.
Our people look at the social dysfunction running rampant in all of our lives: the poverty, the substance abuse and addictions, the violence; the abandonment, abuse, neglect, suicide and even homicides among our children; the poor performance of our education systems. Our people are living in all of this while watching our Tribal leaders spend their money irresponsibly on travel, expensive vehicles, buying votes and purchasing non-essential items and they feel enraged. If we continue to ignore these widespread feelings, we do so at our own peril, and invite further disaster for our generations yet unborn.
In this dire time of trial mismanagement and ethical lapses, transparency for all Tribal decision is essential, especially regarding our current financial situation. Tribal members, or stakeholders, have an inalienable right to know the true financial status of our Tribe and we also have a right to provide input on any direction the Council may consider taking with respect to our collectively owned Tribal resources.
The oil development on the reservation is enriching many of the tribal members who will be living a very different life style than they have in the past. Many of these individuals would benefit from a program that offers financial and investment counseling and/or private entrepreneur advice.
It is the hope of the members of the Transition Team that our research and investigation will assist in bringing these matters to attention for correction, resolution and justice. The members of our Tribe are depending on the current administration to restore their trust and faith in Tribal government, and to fulfill the hopes of our membership that all will have an equal share in the wealth accrued from our jointly-owned Tribal minerals.
The members of our Transition Team thank Chairman Hall for the honor of being asked to serve our People, and hope that the trust you placed in us has been well served and fulfilled.
RECOMMENDATIONS: The Transition submits the following recommendations for improving the delivery of services to the MHA Nation:
1. Audit Ė Immediately, request the U.S. Attorney General to conduct an
audit of all tribal programs for compliance with ďTitle 18, Part 1163, Embezzlement and theft from Indian tribal organizationsĒ, accepted ďPrinciples of Ethical Conduct for Government Officers and EmployeesĒ
2. Vision for Fort Berthold Reservation: The TBC should immediately
authorize funding for the Tribal Planning Office to develop a Vision for the Fort Berthold Reservation. The planning process must include an assessment of the Tribeís capacity to achieve the vision and identify what our government needs in their constitution to effectively and efficiently manage our government to achieve that vision.
3. Constitution Revision - The TBC appoint a six member board to
complete the revision of the Tribal Constitution: The board can update the draft constitution that was developed by the prior constitution committee and meet with the Segments to update and/or modify that draft for presentation to the TBC for a referendum vote of the people. It is critical the new constitution provide for separation of powers, accountability, demand transparency and freedom of information and return the power and authority to the people.
4. Convert all Tribally Owned Fee Lands to Trust - All Tribally owned
fee land should be converted to Trust under the 25 U.S.C. 465 and 25 CFR 151. After the land is acquired in Trust for the Tribe, taxes will no longer be assessed and the land will be under the jurisdiction of the Tribe. On July 2, 2010, the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs issued a ďDear Tribal Leader LetterĒ stating that that BIA ďStrongly supports those fundamental tribal government initiatives including the fee to trust process.Ē A copy of this letter is included in the Exhibits.
5. Oil and Gas and Tax Task Force Ė The TBC appoint a Task Force to
study and recommend a strategy to address the development of oil and gas on the reservation to maximize Tribal benefits from all energy development on the reservation. The membership of this committee must include professionals who have experience in the Oil and Gas and Wind industries as well as tribal and federal trust relationships: Attorneys, tax consultants, financial consultants, engineers, business advisors, and others as deemed appropriate.
6. Internal Affairs Board - The Team recommends the establishment of an
Internal Affairs Board. This board should be composed of three members to be appointed by and established under the supervision of the Chairman. The board would review and assist the tribal auditors perform the annual audit of all tribal programs similar to the tasks of the Transition Team. The Board would assure that all programs are toughly audited for accountability and performance and provide the tribal members a vehicle for reporting suspected wrongdoing and or abuses with tribal government. The cost of the Internal Affairs Board can be realized from the savings in time spent by the auditors who will benefit from the personal knowledge of the board. The Team further recommends the Board be established immediate and function until a constitution revision is adopted.
7. Taxation - The Team recommends that taxation be included in the Task
Force study recommended in item 5. The tribe needs to develop tax codes that will generate funding to support tribal government services and exercise the tribeís sovereign rights.
The Tribal Tax Commission must include professionals in the tax field
and be tasked with developing a working tax structure whereby our Tribe
reclaims 100% of taxes generated by our own minerals and other taxes
normally collected by other governments.
8. Oil and Gas Lines - It is the opinion of the Team that all pipelines on the
reservation should belong to the Tribe to avoid state taxes, generate taxes for the Tribe and provide employment opportunities for enrolled members. The control and safety of the pipelines should belong to the Tribe. A creative approach to accomplish should be explored by the Task Force as recommended in item 5.
Develop a comprehensive plan to provide a coordinated gathering system
serving the reservation oil and gas industry in a safe, regulated and efficient manner should be developed as a part of a transportation plan that is needed to design a road system that will serve the reservation in the best interests of the residents.
9. Housing Ė Consolidate all tribal housing initiatives under the Fort
Berthold Housing Authority and overhaul and implement a binding, fair and just selection process, based on demonstrated need, of all available Tribal housing. This new selection process must be also be used in the awarding of FEMA trailers. Our Tribe must seek legal relief for the repayment of all illegally awarded housing, and for any arrearages.
A subpoena should be sought and issued to require the return of all
Tribal records, computers or other Tribal property now in the custody
of former employees. Our Tribe should also consider pressing
criminal theft charges to show such behavior will not be tolerated.
The TAT should immediately institute policies and procedures which
require the application of current industry standards in the Tribeís purchase, construction or appraisal of homes and commercial buildings. The same should apply to all TERO requirements.
All Directors of Tribal Housing Programs must be qualified by
education and experience in the industry, and must possess a record
clear of any wrongdoing or questionable past practices.
The task force recommends a forensic audit on this program, and that court action is taken in order to resurrect any possible documentation associated with the homes built under this initiative.
Establish a ďOne StopĒ Mortgage Center - to streamline affordable housing opportunities and the mortgage lending process for the Mandan, Hidatsa, & Arikara Nation, respectively. (The concept will be submitted under separate cover.)
10. Law and Order Ė The Aberdeen Regional Office report of their review
of the Law and Order program on Fort Berthold will be completed in the near future. The Team recommends that the TBC carefully review and take whatever action the report recommends to improve the public safety on the reservation.
11. . Travel Ė The TBC must institute travel regulations that allow travel
expenses only for those TBC members or Tribal employees that are necessary to furthering a goal on behalf of the membership. All travel must be directly related to the professional requirements and betterment of the Tribe as a whole, and must have undergone a rigorous review that applies to all elected leadership, all Tribal employees, and all Tribal consultants with no exceptions.
The regulations must demand that all travelers complete a trip report showing what was accomplished while on travel. Travel reports must be on file and available for auditors and tribal members who care to know how their money is being spent.
The Tribe must hire an independent audit team to review all tribal
travel expenditures from 2006-2010, calculate those which do not
adhere to Tribal travel reimbursement rules, and seek legal relief to
recoup illegal travel expenditures.
12. Tribal Vehicles - Reduce the vehicle inventory to accommodate those
programs where a vehicle is essential to service delivery and advertise the remainder for sale. Establish a motor vehicle pool to assure efficient utilization and maintenance of vehicles to avoid wasteful spending.
Require medium or economy sized models for all future vehicle
purchases. Set a spending cap on vehicle purchases and ensure
uniform compliance with this spending cap Ė no exceptions for
anyone. This will be effect a huge savings in gas mileage, insurance
costs and purchase price.
Develop travel reimbursement regulations that will eliminate the waste, fraud, and abuse of the program. Our Tribe must seek legal relief to recoup all costs arising from fraud and abuse of Tribal vehicles; this must include purchase, insurance and mileage costs.
Require TAT plates on all tribal vehicles, 10Ē tribal decals on the doors of each vehicle and restrict the use of tribal vehicles for official use only. Employees of the Tribe (including members of the TBC) who persist in the illegal use of Tribal vehicles, insurance or mileage costs should be sanctioned or prosecuted to recoup costs associated with their actions.
All vehicle purchases should be justified and executed by the property management office to assure compliance with policy and regulations.
Management must audit all tribal programs annually to assure compliance with policy and regulations.
The TBC must hire an independent audit team to review all local mileage costs, calculate those which do not adhere to Tribal mileage regulations and seek legal relief to recoup illegal mileage expenditures.
13. Cell Phones - Cell phones should be restricted to programs that can
justify them for performing their official business and limited their use for official business only. Management needs to monitor this practice since it is costing the Tribe considerable amounts of money.
14. Health and Human Services - The Human Resource Programs should
have a dedicated space in MHA Times to inform their clients of their services. The MHA Times should also publish the Tribal Court and Police arrests as they are normally reported in cities across the country. This has proven to be an effect deterrent for police disorders.
TAT should explore developing a Human Resource Division to oversee and coordinate all of the human resources programs with a one-stop approach to coordinate and serve those in need. A qualified administrator that has the skills and ability to manage this Division should be hired, with full authority and autonomy from the TBC. This person should be well qualified to unite all of the Tribeís Social Services in the Division to eliminate current turf problems. This would relieve the council representatives of those pressures so they can concentrate more on tribal government issues. A major share of the funds budgeted for financial and medical assistance should be budgeted for the social programs.
15. Transparency - Develop a way to improve communications and
consultation with tribal members in order to develop positive solutions
for issues affecting the welfare of the membership. The goal should be a
comprehensive, transparent and effective policy on which the tribal
members can rely. We must have a policy the embodies the best
consultation practice available that responds to the needs of the tribal
members to be more engaged in policy development and promotes more
responsible decisionĖmaking on issues affecting tribal members
Meaningful, good faith consultation makes tribal operations and governance practices more efficient and effective. Forging a strong role for tribal membersí involvement at all stages in the governmentís decision making process will benefit tribal policy for generations to come.
The tribe should employ a qualified Court Reporter to record and publish unedited minutes and resolutions of all tribal council meetings on a weekly basis in the MHA Times.
The Tribe should adopt a consultation policy similar to the policy adopted by the federal government and practice it earnestly. Transparency of government operations and Consultation with the tribal membership is critical for the survival of our tribe.
16. IPAs - The most efficient way for the MHA Nation to improve the
operations of the Tribal Government is to develop Policies and Procedures for program management systems using the knowledgeable federal employees who have training and experience in the programs to work for the tribe under IPA (Interagency Personnel Act) assignments. The IPA's are usually 2 year agreements, with one additional extension of 2 years and the salary is paid by BIA. All it takes to initiate the processing of an IPA is a formal request from the Tribe to Director of the BIA.
The FY 2011 BIA Budget (Green Book) illustrates that they have appropriated a million dollar annual funding increase for the processing of oil and gas leases on the Fort Berthold Reservation and Federal Employees are willing to serve on an IPA to the MHA Nation to assist in the development of energy resources. They already have the proper security clearances and access to TAAMS to fully participate in Self-Determination and the management of the Tribeís energy resources. They can facilitate the full development of the entire Real Estate Services program for the Tribe. Further, they will have immediate access to TAAMS to assist the Tribe in obtaining reports to analyze the best action necessary for the management of the Tribe's trust land.
Federal Employees are also willing to serve on IPA assignments to develop property and personnel management systems.
17. Right-of-ways - The Tribe needs to explore the possibilities of
developing a tax code for oil and gas lines and ownership of all roads and oil and gas lines on the reservation. This would avoid State taxation, provide employment for tribal members and provide income for the tribal government. Negotiations with the oil companies may show that this would relieve them of many issues they encounter in obtaining right-of-ways and give them a comfort level to do business on the reservation. The ownership of the roads and pipelines should not be a concern for the oil companies, their interest is to get the oil and transport it.
18. Building Tribal Financial Capacity and Infrastructure - Having reviewed s of pages of documents and evidence of questionable financial transactions, the Team has concluded that only a thorough reorganization of our Tribeís methods of conducting business can prevent further abuse of travel, mileage, financial assistance, over staffing and loans.
19. Tribal Businesses - A forensic audit of all tribal business enterprises needs to be conducted immediately to identify mismanagement and feasibility of continuing the enterprises. Corrective action must be taken to stop the financial drain on the tribe. This includes all tribal enterprises.
20. Department of Public Works - The facilities management program has grown and will continue to grow. There is a lot of responsibility to manage tribal offices that are scattered throughout the Newtown area. The tribe has purchased old buildings that were moved into Newtown from Sanish and Vanhook and are paying a fair amount of taxes on these building. Planning and development of new commercial facilities on trust land would have been a much better investment.
21. Government capacity: The tribe needs to conduct a self-assessment to determine what tribal laws, codes or ordinances are needed to guide them in achieving their vision of the future.
22. Zoning: Zoning is critical for orderly development of the reservation and can avoid costly mistakes to the tribe. Zoning codes developed to accommodate a vision is definitely needed. Commerce Codes are necessary for the protection of the entrepreneur as well as the tribal government. Commerce codes and tax codes will benefit the economy of the reservation.
Engineering: There is a great amount of engineering services needed here on the reservation. The tribe has paid over $12 million during the past two years for Consultant Engineering firms and at the present time, the Tribe does not have an office to retain the as-built plans for the entire infrastructure. Consultant firms take all the data with them. It is also important to know who the consultants clients are to assure loyalty to tribal interests. The Tribe could support a full service Department of Engineering to serve all tribal programs for much less than $6 million per year.