Greetings Tribal Members:
I hope that everyone is safe and healthy. The spring weather has been nice enough to grant time to plant gardens and plenty of rain and sunshine to boost the garden growth. If you don’t have a garden, then just sitting and watching this ever changing Oklahoma weather is a joy as well. Regardless, my hope is that all Tribal Members enjoy each and every day to its fullest.
During this pandemic, I have continued to perform my duties as an elected official of the tribe.
- I have continued to work with each of my directors to ensure that the essential day-to-day operations are performed;
- I have responded to various Tribal Members’ emergency issues, requests and questions;
- I have also continued participation in Oklahoma Tribal Leaders conference calls to discuss various topics that all tribes are facing at this time;
- Continuous participation in all of AST Emergency Management meetings monitoring the developments during this crisis;
- Work alongside Governor Johnson on all issues that arise during the pandemic; and
- Continue work on the current projects that I have undertaken.
I will continue to fulfill my obligations as an elected official. Following is a brief summary of all other activities.
The Cultural Preservation Department has continued to carry out essential day-to-day operations to ensure the department continues to function properly. Ms. Carol Butler, the Cultural Preservation Director, and Ms. Merry Rodriguez, the Gift Shop Manager, have been working on a plan to open the gift shop that will ensure safety and protect the health of all once the complex fully opens to visitors.
The THPO program has continued working from home to make sure federal projects do not go un-reviewed. Ms. Devon Frazier, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, continues to answer all emails from Federal Agencies concerning Section 106 projects. She also continues to take part in teleconference calls with different Federal Agencies. Ms. Ashley Brokeshoulder, the THPO Specialist, continues to review, research and send correspondences for Section 106 projects as it concerns the communication’s industry.
The department in conjunction with the Grants Department has also been working diligently on a few grants. Ms. Butler provided all the necessary documents for the IMLS Basic Library grant, and the application was submitted in the early part of April. Also, Ms. Frazier and Ms. Butler provided all the necessary documents for the THPO grant, and the application was submitted at the end of April. Currently, Ms. Butler is working with the Grants Department on an ANA Language grant.
Ms. Butler and I delivered rations to the Linney Grounds for the Spring Bread Dance. I also attended the bread dance that weekend.
The Director, Elizabeth Snow, has been working with the Department of Public Safety, the Emergency Manager as well as the Health Systems to monitor the COVID-19 situation and the effects on our workforce. Ms. Snow has been diligently planning and preparing to implement new safety protocols and policies for approval to ensure the safety of all personnel. The Human Resources Department has played an integral part in securing federal funding for our tribe during this critical time. The demand for data to support these federal fund requests is tremendous.
In addition to planning these new guidelines, the Director and staff have also continued to maintain the daily functions of the department. The staff recently completed the second quarter worker’s compensation audit with no findings. The staff is currently in the preparation stages for the 401K audit that will start at the end of June. The staff continues to function at a high level to support department directors and Executive Committee Members with the ever changing employment, safety and leave guidelines during this time.
The Gaming Commission Executive Director, Titus Carter, has been working closely with TEC Operations to ensure the threat of COVID-19 is mitigated by abiding by the CDC and state health and safety recommendations. Mr. Carter has also been working to ensure that vendor and employee licensing has been processed in order to assist in the casino opening within the desired time frame. The Gaming Commission compliance officers have also been working hard to sign as many games into play in order to maximize TEC casino profitability.
As required by the NIGC, surveillance of the casinos must be continuously maintained; therefore, the Gaming Commission surveillance staff has continued to perform their work during the shutdown for the protection of the tribe’s property. All safety protocols are in place for the protection of all staff.
The Gaming Commissioners, Mr. James Stuart and Mr. Roy Larney, have continued to perform their duties throughout the shutdown. They ensured that the licensing process was not interrupted and continued to perform their regulatory oversight duties. Their dedication is greatly appreciated.
Management Information Services
Our IT team plays a central role in the operation of our tribal business. The IT team has continued to operate at a high level--keeping our remote staff and onsite staff productive in their day-to-day work. Mr. Travis O’Dell, MIS Director, has assembled a strong IT team. The IT team has expanded the technical capabilities of the tribal system, adding sophisticated virtual infrastructure for our Data Center, site-to-site replication of backups, and a multi-path network infrastructure for resilience. These improvements will allow our tribal technology infrastructure to expand and grow as we grow. Our tribe is fortunate to have this strong professional IT team.
Mr. O’Dell is making great strides in introducing new programs that will greatly benefit our tribal members and staff. The tribe’s systems and network security issues are a primary concern for our business; and the IT staff is maintaining a high level of security for the protection of our tribal business. Any security incident can potentially damage a tribe’s reputation and cost large sums of money.
The team is planning appropriately not just for our current needs but also for future growth. We are currently looking at tools that will provide a strong platform for communication with all tribal members regardless of where a tribal member resides. We are enhancing the tribe’s ability to better archive data and bring better efficiencies for the delivery of tribal member services. This is not a sprint, but a slow and steady run to achieve overall success and protection of our tribal assets.
Work on Phase II of the Youth Camp has been halted due to the pandemic. Preliminary dirt work and layout for the entryway started just as the shutdown occurred. The trees have been cleared and all of the dirt work for the shower house and cabins has been completed. The trees have been cleared and the sewage lagoon has been completed for the shower house and cabins. The next steps will be to start the foundation for the cabins; complete the septic lines that will run to the sewage lagoon; complete the water lines that will go to the cabins and the shower house; and run the electric to the cabins and the shower house. After this step, the construction of the cabins and shower house will begin. Also, the parking lot and sidewalk area for the Dining Hall have been prepared and are ready to be paved once the state opens for all businesses to resume work.
A big THANK YOU to all of the dedicated staff for continuing their contribution to the management of services for our tribal members and the ongoing tribal business needs.
As usual, I like to end my report with a thought provoking quote. Stay safe!
Quote: No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We, ourselves must walk the path.
Office of the Representative
2025 S Gordon Cooper Dr.
Shawnee, OK 74801
(405) 275-4030 x 6239