By Joe Morey
At their weekly meeting on Monday, Nov. 8, LCO Secretary-Treasurer Tweed Shuman made a motion to require a consensus of four Tribal Governing Board (TGB) members to approve any donation, including gas vouchers and hotel rooms, but the motion failed to receive a second from any other TGB members at the meeting.
“We all agree we are compassionate about helping our people, but I believe we should approve by consensus because we are exceeding our budget for donations and we need to be accountable,” Shuman stated.
TGB member, Gary “Little Guy” Clause said he disagrees because during some people’s emergencies, he can’t always wait for responses from three other council members. He noted sometimes these requests come in the middle of the night and he doesn’t want to call around to other members at those hours.
Shuman stated the Tribal Code of Law already states, “No elected official shall authorize monetary benefits to another without consensus, including hotel rooms.”
Discussion took place between council members whether the statement above states ‘to another’ as meaning to another council member or to any person whether council members or not.
LCO Chairman Louis Taylor stated they have donated close to a million dollars in hotel rooms in the last year. He said the Tribal Rule stated above was designed to have four signatures from council members for any donations exceeding $10,000, and that an accumulation for one purpose, such as hotel rooms, should be included in this rule.
“This rule was put into place so that it doesn’t go on forever,” stated Taylor.
TGB member Michelle Beaudin said each donation of hotel room or gas voucher is an individual donation and doesn’t fall under the Tribal Code requirement over $10,000.
Shuman stated that TGB members have been approving $15,000 per month in gas vouchers and Chairman Taylor added, one person received three vouchers in the same day.
Taylor questioned Beaudin’s logic these donations don’t fall under the Tribal Code by asking if he could give $9,000 in donations today to four different persons and he wouldn’t require three other signatures. Beaudin said basically yes he could.
TGB member Glenda Barber stated that she would rather do donations by consensus as well, but she understands the idea that many people have an issue in the middle of the night when other council members can’t be reached.
Chairman Taylor then asked where is the proof that it’s an actual emergency in the middle of the night.
“Why is it always in the middle of the night and it can’t wait until morning,” Taylor asked.
Shuman added that the Tribe has a couple of shelters that are not full and have availability, yet the tribal members requesting a room state they won’t stay at the shelter for various reasons. Shuman said persons should be directed to the shelters before hotel rooms are given out.
“What do we do when we reach the donation budget limit and we’re only halfway through the year,” Shuman then asked. “We did not budget $15,000 per month for gas vouchers or $900,000 per year for hotel rooms.”
Shuman’s motion stated, “Any use of donation account from TGB be a consensus agreed upon by four members.”
Taylor asked for a second, but the motion failed without a second. Taylor was in support of the motion, but as Chairman, he doesn’t have a vote unless there is a tie.