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After two days of arguments between the Tribal Council and Chairman, Human Resources will be completely restructured.

By a vote of 12-0, the Tribal Executive Board approved moving the vacant HR director position under the management of Tribal Operations Manager and Secretary Accountant Megan Gourneau.

Yesterday, a motion came up to put the whole HR office under Gourneau. Chairman Floyd Azure would not allow the motion to the floor, saying it’s unconstitutional because it would remove him from the hiring process. Chairman duties in the constitution state he is supervisor of all directors and employees.

Tribal Council members said the motion was not unconstitutional and not against the Chairman. This is not about taking the Chairman out of the picture, Councilman Terry Rattling Thunder said. It was being done to bring order to the HR Department, which went through a dramatic change after longtime director Jackie Azure suddenly quit and was transferred to Indian Reservation Roads.

However there were mixed messages coming from the council regarding the motion. Tribal Councilwoman Carolyn Brugh said this is done to “take the politics out of hiring.” Because the Chairman and former HR Director share the same last name, many people in the Tribal Building were afraid to say anything critical about the department or complain.

Councilwoman Patt Iron Cloud said the motion would take the Chairman off the hook in hiring.

The Tribal Constitution clearly outlines Chairman Azure’s duties, and one is to supervise all of the employees of the Tribes. It includes HR, and the motion is unconstitutional because the Chairman cannot be separated from his duties.

The Chairman would not yield on this, and neither would the Tribal Council.

Around 3 p.m., a recess was called for the day and would resume the next morning.

The following morning, everyone seemed to have a relaxed demeanor.

Councilwoman Iron Cloud said her appeal on the motion was not recognized by the Chairman before the end of the day. She said the TEB has the right to appeal rulings of the Chairman.

Chairman Azure said he didn’t put it on the floor because the motion is director involved. He asked the council why they said he should not be involved.

Rattling Thunder said the motion is not going to remove the Chairman. Azure said he was told he has no authority, now he’s being told the opposite. It should be in the resolution, he said.

Councilman Bryce Kirk said if they (TEB) violate the constitution they could all be removed.

Again, Azure said he was told this was being done to remove the Chairman’s authority in the constitution.

Iron Cloud said the council can and needs to move forward to not turn democracy into a dictatorship.

The question was called for and the final was 11 for, none opposed, and one absent.

The following are highlights from the two day meeting.


Buffalo Fence

Tribal leaders approved the submission of a letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The letter is for Superintendent Anna Eder to request extra funding from the BIA to assist fencing for the buffalo ranch. It’s requesting $30,000 for assistance.


Carry over

Head Start administration are submitting their carry over application of $472,220 from fiscal year 2022, upon approval for the granting agency.



The council approved the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan, post dated May 16, 2023. The Tribes HR Department and Transit Director Elmer DeCoteau are responsible for implementing the plan.



Funding for the Child Care Construction is falling short and needing assistance from the Tribes.

Sunee Erickson, 477 Program Director, said she needs to increase the original amount by $300,000 more. She told the council the construction should be done in the coming months, according to tribal committee minutes.

The motion to change the amount requested from $1,176,001 to $1,476,001.

In addition, Erickson said she was looking into putting lights at the Pool Court.



A $5,000 donation from the Tribes was given to local charity “Feed the Hungry.”

Ronalee Carpentier, for Feed the Hungry, met with the council a week before the meeting and asked if they could get some funds from the Tribes to help keep feeding children. School will be dismissed soon, and the numbers of children using the program will increase.

When they feed children, parents come and get the food. However, more and more children are coming to get their own plates. One time, some children got food, ate, and before they left they asked if they could get some for their parents.

Councilwoman Carolyn Brugh said the Tribes did give them $25,000 in the past.


Top 5 

Tribal In-House Attorney Cher Stewart explains the details of the contract she has with the Tribes.

After announcing the Tribes were accepting bids, In-House Tribal Attorney Cher Stewart was told to go through the bids and pick out the top five companies to work on the Frazer Community Center. The list was approved by the full board.

According to the motion, the top companies that applied include LSC Construction at $115,917.19; Moonlight Concrete, Concrete Footings, Walls Slab on Grade at $278,450; Valley Metal Buildings, Building Erector at $236,500; Aune Masonry, Masonry Block at $130,860; and Sand Electric, Electrical System at $245,000


Deadline extended

A motion was approved to amend a resolution regarding the Tribes Vaccination Incentive program and Household Financial Assistance checks.

The amendment changes the final deadline to June 23, 2023 instead of April 28, 2023 to allow tribal members the opportunity to claim their assistance.


Graveyard Worker

Eugene “Chiefy” Ryan, of Chief Maintenance, was hired to do maintenance work on six graveyards on the reservation.

Ryan met with the Finance Committee and told them he has a Tribal Employment Rights Office License and he paid his TERO insurance for his new business. He was asked to submit a proposal and the council wants to keep the job under $10,000. Chief Financial Officer Randy Redpath told the council there is money in a Tribal account.


Water Resource

Tribal leaders approved of the solicitation for bids under project #23-23 for the Frazer pump station access road project, with appropriate consolation of the TEB.



Tribal Office of Environmental Protection Director Martina Wilson met with the council to get two resolutions approved.

Before voting, the council told Wilson to get in contact with the In-House Attorney to see what can be done legally to force people to clean their yards.

The first resolution approved was to authorize OEP to submit an application budget and work plan to the Environmental Protection Agency for a $13,000 grant with no match requirement.

The other resolution authorizes OEP to submit an application for a $30,000 grant.



Julia Young was approved for an enrolled member homesite renewal.

White Hawk Land and Livestock LLC was approved for a lease of 169 acres with 14 acres of irrigated land.

The TEB declared interest in purchasing Range Unit 38.

A land sale application from Sherry Longtree was approved. It is for two allotments, one northeast of Poplar and one east of Wolf Point near Nashua.

Coy Black Eagle sold his land for a total of $98,333.33. It includes four allotments near Frazer with multiple owners.

A township was added to a grazing unit permit, 40 acres and nine AUM’s.

The Tribes agreed to purchase the minerals and surface from Michael Hope for $80,376.

The Council also agreed to declare one-third fee interest in land belonging to Charlotte Rowe for $41,078.

Jacinta Big Leggins was approved for a negotiated sale to the Fort Peck Tribes for land north of Frazer and north of Poplar.



The board wants to honor past council members and their families by presenting Fort Peck Tribal Flags.

The motion is for 65 former council members who passed away.



The Tribes will be working with Sheridan Electric to install working lights at the Brockton Football Field.

In a similar motion, the TEB voted to allow the ARPA Parks and Rec to acquire lights for the Pool Courts and find a funding source for the continuous electricity.



Fort Peck Tribal Transit Program submitted a Coordinated Service Plan to be submitted with a grant application to the Montana Department of Transportation. The plan will be carried out by Transit Director Elmer Decoteau and Tribal Operations Manager Megan Gourneau.



The council approved a request an RTFDS Training on behalf of the Rocky Mountain Region. They are requesting the training to be held in Billings.



Tribal leaders approved providing a letter of support for Winslow Friday, a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribes on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, for the position of Tribal Transportation Coordinating Committee Representative, Rocky Mountain Region.


Red Bird

The Red Bird Woman Center got approval to submit the FY23 Formula Grant Program for $272,089 total over a period of up to five years. There are no match requirements.



The TEB approved of sending correspondence to the Indian Health Service regarding the usage of the IHS-810 form and authorize the Chairman to sign the necessary correspondence.



A request was approved to transfer the duty station of Adrian Imus to the Poplar TSHIP office.

This is a transfer from Wolf Point.


Past Due

Tribal Health will be allowed to use the Tribal Credit Director’s salary at $39.60 to pay the following reports: Nemont, Montana Dakota Electric, Fort Peck Tribes Police Department architects, Department of Health and Human Services contracts, provide monthly and annual reports, and IHS budget modifications.

They will be renewing the agreement until the Tribal Health Department Financial Specialist position is filled.



Francine Boxer’s temporary appointment of employment of Tribal Health Improvement Program Manager was extended until June 18, 2023.



Central and Administrative employees were recognized for going above and beyond in their work by approving of giving the department bonuses.



Dae Shanna Four Bear went from temporary to permanent Corrections Officer at the Tribal Jail.



Tribal leaders approved a Disaster Declaration; a disaster has occurred on the Fort Peck Reservation and the TEB authorizes the Chairman/Vice Chairman to sign off on any documents pertaining to the Declaration of Disaster, and copies of this resolution to be filled with the FEMA Region VIII, Montana Disaster and Emergency Division, the Governors Office, the BIA, and other interested parties.

It did not list what the disaster is, however there was discussion over an oil spill north of Poplar on May 17, 2023.

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