The General Tribal Council (GTC) wasted little time in passing the Financial Year (FY) 2019 budget at the Monday, December 10 Special GTC meeting held at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center.
After accepting the one-item-agenda, Oneida Business Committee (OBC) Treasurer Trish King introduced the FY2019 budget.
“Today, the nation provides approximately 1200 programs and services,” said King.
She also explained why the OBC is bringing back the General Manger position.
“The General Manager position will shift the responsibility of operational administration so that the Business Committee can focus on other extremely important things such as federal legislation that challenges our sovereignty such as the Indian Child Welfare Act, land into trust, self-governance, and our continued efforts to address Hobart’s claim that we, the Oneida Nation, do not exist,” she said.
Chief Financial Officer Larry Barton outlined some of the challenges facing the economy such as rising wages, international tariffs, and inflation.
“Our costs centers are rising faster than our gaming revenues and retail revenues are able to keep up,” said Barton.
He expressed concern that Oneida doesn’t have more money in reserve in case of negative revenue events such as a loss of profits or grants.
“We should decidedly reserve more liquidity, more cash,” he said.
During the discussion, Mike Debraska attempted to make a motion to double the GTC meeting stipend from $100 to $200.
“If all of the boards, committees and commissions can get raises, and the Business Committee themselves can give themselves a raise while at the same time deny our per capita petition, then it’s only right GTC should get a raise as well,” said Debraska. The raise in question was .85 cents an hour which was given to almost all tribal employees in the FY2019 budget. There were two petitions this year requesting a $5000 per capita that the OBC refused to bring to a GTC meeting.
OBC Chairman Tehassi Hill ruled the motion out of order because it would take the proposed budget out of balance. Corinne Robelia-Zhuckkahosee asked a privileged question if she could table the budget meeting so the motion could be considered. Hill replied that she could, but she would have to get back in the microphone line to make her motion.
“You can’t table the question because you got to the mic by using privileged question,” he said. Hill’s decision was supported by Parliamentarian Jo Ann House.
Sherrell Benton moved to accept the resolution regarding the FY2019 Budget on pages 30-31 of the meeting packet, and a call for the question was made soon after.
Linda Dallas, wishing for more discussion on the budget, called for a count on the call for the question and the GTC voted 931 for to 466 against and 34 abstaining to go ahead and vote on Benton’s motion. The budget was adopted with a hand vote with overwhelming support. The meeting adjourned at 7:19pm.