Meeting held to update membership

Southern Ute Tribal Chairman Clement J. Frost addresses the tribal membership to give an update on how his administration is running since winning the special election in May. The general meeting was held Friday, Aug. 29 at the Sky Ute Casino Resort.
Trennie Collins | The Southern Ute Drum

Last Friday’s general meeting was a lot shorter than the usual daylong meetings the membership is used to.

According to Southern Ute Tribal Chairman, Clement J. Frost the meeting was held so he and his appointed officials could update the tribal membership on their three-months in office.

Chairman Frost gave his update to the membership, focusing on the budget process and his concerns with the 10 percent workforce reduction taking place within in the tribe. “[I have] a lot of questions on how that will effect the tribal membership and the services that are given to [the] tribal membership,“ Frost said. “ We really need to address how to deal with the reduction and how that is going to effect the employment of the tribal members.”

Vice Chairman, Melvin Baker mentioned about 70 percent of the Permanent Fund’s budget goes to paying employee salaries. “We’re trying to make it so we don’t spend so much money.”  Baker said. “We are responsible for the Tribe’s money, and we are looking for duplication of services. Are two departments doing the same job? And are we paying for that?”

Executive officer, Michelle Taylor Cruz, also gave a brief update on what she has been working on the last three months. Since in office, she has been focused on tribal member concerns, as the current administration felt that was the first thing that needed to be addressed, Taylor Cruz said. Talyor Cruz, also used her time to introduce the new Southern Ute Tribal Health Director, Lola Osawe.

OTHER UPDATES Frost mentioned that the Tribe is looking for a new BIA superintendent. There is currently an acting BIA superintendent until Tribal Council can find a qualified candidate, he said.

According to Frost, The general manager position at the casino still needs to be filled. An individual was offered the general manager position of the casino, prior to Frost coming into office. Council is still awaiting the decision of the individual’s gaming license, he said.

Members of the Southern Ute Growth Fund were also present to give a brief update on fiscal year 2014. Like the Permanent Fund, the Growth Fund will also have a more detailed presentation later this month, when a Regular General Meeting takes place.

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