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NABC strives for transparency, better records

Feb 28, 2017 By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer

In a public meeting live-streamed from Great Plains Hall in Arapahoe, the new members of the Northern Arapaho Business Council promised to increase the transparency of their affairs, as well as improve the availability -- including electronic record-keeping -- of tribal documents.

At the Feb. 21 session, chairman Roy Brown said that poor documentation of NABC and General Council resolutions currently makes it difficult to adhere to the policies established by former administrations.

"We want to respect those in order to create policies that are fair," he said.

Brown said the council is committed to holding public meetings to ensure that tribal members have adequate information about the government.

The NABC also plans to develop "clear and precise policies" that all levels of the organization will be expected to adhere to, and Brown said the council will hold semi-annual meetings with employees and quarterly meetings with programs directors.

Finances

Brown provided a comprehensive breakdown of the tribe's financial outlook and said it will be important to increase the tribe's "efficiency" as the local economic slump continues.

Total severance revenue was $5 million just three years ago but is expected to drop to $2 million in 2017.

The tribe spent $13.9 million of its own money last year, but Brown said revenue -- not including grant funding -- is expected to drop to $7 million this year.

Shoshones

The NABC is also working to improve its relationship with the Shoshone Business Council, Brown said, by developing a memorandum of understanding about the future operation of shared programs.

Brown said his tribe needs to "create structure with the Shoshone that meets the needs of our reservation but also respects each others' sovereignty."

"We're progressing in a way that makes us really excited," he said.

The two tribes are also re-establishing the Land Resource Committee, which previously worked to approve home-lease sites on land held in trust by the U.S. government.

Since the dissolution of the Joint Business Council, the ability to lease trust land has been greatly reduced.

Continuity

Former NABC co-chair Keith Spoonhunter said the new council members need to work to ensure that their efforts continue even if the majority of members are not re-elected in two years.

"We need to take that warning seriously," Brown said. "We understand this energy is cyclical."

Council-member Norman Willow said it's difficult to maintain consistency because the General Council has voted down proposals for staggered terms, which would reduce the amount of turnover each election cycle.

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2017-10-20

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