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Two meetings in two weeks for GTC

Posted on Apr 6, 2017 by


During a reconvened General Tribal Council (GTC) special meeting held on Monday, March 27, at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, the Oneida council approved the Fiscal Year 2017 budget. Included in the budget is a change to the Nation’s wage scale which will result in an increase of the tribe’s minimum wage to $10.10/hr. This change will result in all tribal employees receiving a minimum $.40 raise per hour. Employees can expect a retro-check dating back to October 1, 2016.

Oneida Treasurer Patricia King opened the agenda with a tribal budget message to the council in which she explained the timeline of events leading up to this final budget proposal. The FY2017 budget approval process took much longer than anticipated due to the tabling of the agenda item last year while financial issues regarding membership per capita payments, the opening of an emergency food pantry, and the startup of the Legal Resources Center were worked out.

Oneida Nation Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Lawrence Barton then presented a financial overview and forecast for the tribe. During his presentation Barton discussed the various financial risks facing the nation including the possibility of future economic downturns. Barton did, however, stress that the Finance area is in the process of executing steps to strengthen the tribe’s balance sheet through consistent, meaningful debt reduction and an improved financial structure.

Assistant CFO RaLinda Ninham-Lamberies then addressed the GTC and broke down the FY2017 budget into an understandable format. She displayed the budgets of the various tribal entities and explained the progress made in the Nation’s debt reduction efforts, including the retiring of the Thornberry Creek at Oneida debt in August of 2016 as well as the Bank of American line of credit which was retired in September of 2016. Ninham-Lamberies went on to explain that the amount of current outstanding debt owed by the tribe is $30M on Bank of America retail revenue bonds which were used to pay for the Anna John Resident Care Community as well as upgrades and maintenance fees for upkeep of the building.

Special Meeting – March 19, 2017

The GTC also met on Sunday, March 19 to handle an agenda that was highlighted by the potential adoption of a new Employment Law for the Nation and paying Oneida citizens to vote in elections.

The GTC first attempted to tackle the new proposed Employment Law. Confusion reigned proponents and opponents of the new law made their case. A new law would replace the current Personnel, Policies, and Procedures. Drafters held a public meeting along with six community meetings along with an employee survey to gather input to shape the proposed Employment Law. Some felt the law was still confusing and not needed. Also, the Personnel Commission, which would be eliminated under the Employment Law, felt their input was not considered.

Ultimately, the GTC moved to table the Employment Law for the new Oneida Business Committee that will be elected this summer. The move will allow the newly elected leadership the ability to review the proposed law.

The GTC then overwhelmingly turned away a petition asking for a $100 stipend to vote in Oneida Nation elections. An amendment looking to also pay citizens to attend a debate also failed.

In 2013 the GTC adopted the Judiciary Law, which created the body that exercises judicial jurisdiction of the Oneida Nation. During the March 19 meeting, the GTC approved a resolution officially designating the Judiciary as the judicial authority of the Oneida Nation.

Working against the designated meeting time limit of four hours, the GTC tabled the 2017 Re-organization Proposal until the Semi-Annual Meeting or an upcoming GTC meeting.

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