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2017-07-13 / Front Page

Council Dismisses Merdanian Complaint, Bureau Receives General Assistance Monies

BY TOM CRASH
LCT CORRESPONDENT

PINE RIDGE - Before business heated up Wednesday at the rescheduled OST Council meeting, the council’s vote on a motion to dismiss a complaint with prejudice against Tina Merdanian, first time council representative from Oglala, was tied 7-7 with Scott Weston, OST president breaking the tie, voting yes to dismiss. The OST Gaming Commission, Warren Cross and Naomi Felicia, filed the complaint against Merdanian.

Acting BIA superintendent John Long, announced in his report that they had received General Assistance monies for the rest of the fiscal year and submitted a request and received an additional $158,000 to be used by September 30. BIA social services representatives have already been in a Wanblee and Eagle Nest district, planning to spend time in each district taking applications; first GA monies will be disbursed in early August. Long also talked about working with the US Forrest Service and the Black Hills National Forrest; they did have a rookie firefighter camp with 14 participants. The Bureau is close to finalizing the advertisement for the 2017-22 range permit period, expects to have it out by the end of the week.

With a vote of 15-1-1, the council approved closing down and removing the OST Social Services department from the general fund with all tribal assistance operations returning to the OST treasurers office/FAO while the council develops a plan for distribution of assistance monies. We will have a plan to put before the council by next month’s meeting, added Cora White Horse, council representative from LaCreek and chair of the finance committee while OST treasurer, Mason Big Crow is spending as much as a half day, every day reviewing financial assistance requests. We have guidelines in the treasurer’s office, actually I thought the social services department was working, they were also looking for additional resources that could be used and were providing some accountability to the assistance distribution process, added Big Crow.

Brought by the finance committee, the personnel policies and procedures were approved 14-1 with 2 not voting. Later in the meeting an amended salary scale was passed 17-0 along with an amended organizational chart, passing 16-1. I’m wondering if we should amend the implementation of the organization chart, the amended chart eliminates a job position, added White Horse, the council approved immediate implementation. The deputy executive director position was eliminated, a position held by Jake Little.

Voting 14-0-3, the council approved the adoption of policies and procedures of the short term and long term loan program and rescinded 15-15, 15-17 and 16-10; voting 15-0- 1 to support the appointment of Seymour Young Dog to the OST Nursing Home board to fill the unexpired term of Leonard Little Finger; voting 14-0-3 approving the Managed IT Agreement between OST and Marco Technologies to provide information technology services in the amount of $8,090 per month for one year for a total of $97,080 for one year with automatic renewal of up to two additional years and not to exceed a 10% price increase each year; voted 13-4 to amend the committee quorum requirement for the finance committee.

The council approved the contract with White River Construction for construction of individual and community sanitation facilities for scattered sites on Pine Ridge reservation worth $2.3 million 15-0- 2; voted 17-0 authorizing president to sign off for the tribes cost share with USDA NRCS Environmental Quality Incentive program to implement the Slim Buttes Livestock Water Project utilizing the OSRWSS pipeline.

Following a presentation by Tawnie Brunsch of the Lakota Funds on what was needed to be able to turn some of their Wanblee homes into home ownership opportunities, the council voted 11-3-1-2 to approve the forgiveness of debts of the Lakota Fund Limited Partnership and Wanbli Wohpi otipi Limited Partnership. With this vote, we are looking to sell homes for $20,000; the three bedroom homes are valued at $36,000 while the four bedroom are at $42,000, added Brunsch.

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