TGB Approves Stimulus Payment to All Members Living in Sawyer County
By Joe Morey
The LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB) narrowly approved a $1,000 stimulus payment to every adult tribal member living within the Tribe’s service area, which is designated as within Sawyer County, and $500 for each of their children.
The stimulus is effective immediately and will be distributed as soon as all the details can be worked out. This is one of the uses of the CARES Act funds the Tribe received two weeks ago. According to Enrollment data provided to the TGB on Friday, May 29, there are 2,512 adult members (18 and up) and 711 child members (17 and under) living on the reservation or within Sawyer County, which makes the total payout from CARES Act funds to be $2,867,500.
The vote took place on Monday, June 1, at their weekly meeting. The motion was made by Gary “Little” Guy” Clause and seconded by Tweed Shuman. After a lengthy discussion, the motion was approved by Clause, Shuman and Don Carley. After abstentions by LCO Vice-Chairwoman Lorraine Gouge, Sec-Treasurer Michelle Beaudin and Glenda Hall, LCO Chairman Louis Taylor also voted in favor. It was decided Taylor’s vote wasn’t necessary because three voted in favor. The vote was recorded as 3-0-3.
Tweed Shuman said he strongly supports giving some of these funds back to our members who have struggled through this pandemic.
Little Guy added, “This is a one-time financial assistance payment to provide relief to our members. This is about the welfare of our people.”
The TGB members who abstained from voting questioned whether the Tribe was permitted to use the funds in this manner, although many Tribes are dispersing stimulus payments directly to their members.
Glenda Barber said she wanted to help the people, but just wanted to make sure it’s done the right way.
“For the record, I don’t want to see the Tribe held accountable,” explained Lorraine Gouge.
Michelle Beaudin proposed waiting another week to take the vote so that the TGB could look deeper into whether there are any restrictions.
“We have a sovereign right to take care of our people,” Little Guy stated. “This is to get money into their hands. Our people never get anything out here. This is how we make sure all of our people see something from this CARES Act money.”
Chairman Taylor asked what the TGB’s plans would be for the people who don’t have work. “We all have jobs and a weekly paycheck. What about all those who don’t get that weekly paycheck?”
Discussion was held on what members should receive the stimulus. It was explained that the CARES money received was based on the 3,213 members living within the Tribe’s service area.
Little Guy explained his motion to only include members living within the county was based on that data. He said the money coming into the Tribe was to assist the local economy during the Covid-19 Pandemic and that a distribution should be limited to those members living here to help stimulate the local economy.
The resolution will state that the payment to Tribal Members will be for reimbursement of cost burden of home schooling, extra food, utility bills, clothing, child care and other expenses related to the Covid-19 Pandemic.