Oyate News - News For The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Community

Vice-Chairman's Report to Tribal Council

 

Last updated 4/13/2022 at 11:17pm | View PDF

Vice-Chairman Edmund Johnson, Jr

Greetings Mitakiyapi! I would like to update you on what I and my administrative staff have been working on.

First, I would like to thank you all for your continued support and patience. Since I took office and resumed my duties as your Vice-Chairman on December 1, 2021, my staff and I have worked very hard to get program budgets entered into our system for the cur-rent fiscal year. This was completed in February, and I'm happy to inform you that we have balanced the budgets. We met with tribal council twice to present them with the draft overall budget, answer questions and hear recommendations. I will present them with a finalized overall budget at the first council meeting in April, which will conclude this task for the current fiscal year. In previous years, soliciting budgets from programs, creating the overall budget and getting approval from tribal council occurs before the beginning of the fiscal year. This is why my staff and I will begin this process in the next few months so that we can have a balanced budget presented to council before the beginning of the next fiscal year as we have done in the past.

The audit for FY2020 is near completion. These reports from the auditors are expected to be submitted to my office within the next few weeks. We have advertised a request for proposals for a firm to complete the tribe's audits for fiscal years 2023, 2024, and 2025per policy. The finance staff and interim CFO will begin the work of preparing documents for the 2021 audit within the next month. I have always been com-mitted to following a timeline that al-lows for the tribe's audit to be completed before the deadline of the end of the fiscal year. The budget office staff complete quarterly internal audits which allow me to identify areas that we can improve as a whole to ensure that the tribe is fiscally compliant and responsible.

We have completed the quarterly re-porting to the federal government on the ARPA funding that the tribe received from the federal government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I'm happy to report that our submission was accepted by the US treasury department. Our contracted technical assistance team, along with my staff are well versed in the State and Local Final Rule and ensure that the tribe is following the regulations on allowable expenditures.

In May of 2021 the former Vice-Chairwoman requested an assessment of our tribal court. This assessment process began last week when a team from the BIA was on site. We will have a report and recommendations from this team in the coming months. As with anything, there are always ways to improve and we are committed to sup-porting the tribal court in their growth. An integral piece that has been missing is a Wellness Court. The Chief Judge along with treatment service providers have created a plan and expect for a Wellness Court to be funded, hopefully this fiscal year still. Having a Wellness Court will allow for alternative sentencing for tribal members who commit crimes related to alcohol and drug use.

This week the Tribal Executives assisted the DARE team with harvesting buffalo from our herd. This buffalo will be used to provide healthy meat to tribal members who fall ill withCOVID-19. It was an honor to participate and support our young DARE employees in the ceremony of taking a buffalo.

At the end of the month, I will be traveling to Washington DC alongside Chairman Hopkins to advocate for funding for a police station. As you may know, the previous police station was condemned by the BIA and the Law Enforcement staff was moved to the north side of the EMS/Covid Isolation center in November, 2021.

I look forward to meeting with members of congress and the Department of Interior to advocate for this project.

Taking this step means, that we have even greater responsibilities in being transparent to Tribal Council and to the people. Our tribal government has been in existence since 1945. We have improved our governance and tribal council oversight, we need to keep building a stronger and more cohesive management team, and make the changes necessary to ensure that our tribal programs commit for the long term.

Our continued success will from execution and the strength of the platform we have worked so hard to build. Our Budget and Finance and Legal teams are solving some of the most difficult problems, and we will run our business as true Dakota and the people we serve.

I want to close with my commitment to you: I won't be perfect, but I will listen to you: I will ensure that we will treat all tribal people with respect, and I will run the Vice-Chairman office with passion, humility and, empathy.

Again, thank you for your support. It is an honor to serve each and every one of you. If you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to reach out to my office at 698-8403/698-8382 or at [email protected]

 
 

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