Fri Jan 6th, 2017
Editors Note: Council Corner is a returning feature of The Southern Ute Drum that features reports directly from Southern Ute Tribal Council staff about the activities of council members.
The morning of December 19 was one to remember for incoming Tribal Council members Kevin Frost and Adam Red. After the congratulations, they dove right in beginning a weeklong orientation. The orientation served to help ease the transition into their new roles. The tribe’s Strategic Planner, Eric Thayer, worked with the Executive Office and all tribal entities to schedule informative presentations. Various departments provided staff and position introductions, departmental history, current projects and/or services, and a vision for the department’s future.
“I am very appreciative to be a part of this inaugural orientation. This is a step in the right direction, a new way to conduct affairs to lessen the learning curve for newly elected officials,” Frost said.
This was the first time such an extensive overview was provided for the newly elected officials. The Southern Ute Constitution, adopted in 1936, requires “the carry-over members shall see that new members have a correct and clear understanding of the constitution, the management of tribal and reservation affairs and the rules governing the conduct of the council”.
Each of the sitting Council members were also in attendance for various presentations, providing their support and adding to the discussion.
Permanent Fund Departments, the Growth Fund, the Sky Ute Casino Resort and Southern Ute Shared Services presented throughout the week providing in-depth overviews of their operations.
The Departments of Natural Resources, Human Resources, and Legal (presented on Tribal Constitution) presented Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning was spent entirely on the Growth Fund businesses while the afternoon was devoted to Environmental Protection Department and the Executive Office. The Executive Office brought its departments that needed shorter presentation times: SunUte Community Center, Boys & Girls Club, Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy, Education, Tribal Information Services, and Construction & Project Management.
“After working 21 years for the tribe in Department of Natural Resources, Tribal Rangers, and the Growth Fund’s Department of Energy, the orientation was a great refresher. For me the presentations from the Chief Financial Officer and Council Affairs, provided knowledge on procedures I hadn’t previously been aware of,” mentioned Red.
On Wednesday, presentations were given by the Legal Department, this time focusing on the ethics code. The Finance Department presented on investments, financial literacy, and the budgeting process followed by a presentation from Treasurer Lorelei Cloud. Jeffrey Fingert, Chief Financial Officer, continued presenting information on the Finance Department Thursday morning. Thursday’s session also included Strategic Planning and Justice & Regulatory. Administrative leave was given in the afternoon due to inclement weather, and the remaining departments were rescheduled for the following week.
Many of the presentations went into discussion, which was also very beneficial for both departments and officials.
“It was good to hear what the departments are doing and engaging in discussion with them gives a snapshot of the direction the department is headed. It also allows for the individuals in the departments to get to know me as well, to build an effective working relationship,” Frost said.