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Council focused on budget and accountability
June 11, 2009

The CRIT Tribal Council has taken a “proactive” approach in the administration and accountability of the Tribes’ finances to ensure Tribal services and Tribal enterprises remain in tact despite the national economic crisis.

Dennis Welsh, Tribal Treasurer, stated, “Money is tight, just as it is with every other government facing financial hardships right now. But by being actively involved in the day-to-day financial affairs of the Tribe, we now know better than ever where we stand financially. Which allows us to make better administrative decisions.”

When asked to describe CRIT’s current financial status, he stated, “stabilized,” and remains optimistic by saying, “We are working hard to position ourselves so that we will not have to lay-off employees, or make drastic cuts in critical program funding.”

According to Welsh, this was accomplished by passing a budget that reduced a lot of wasteful government spending. Although passed in May, he said that the budget was a “true budget” based upon a lot of analysis by the Accounting Department staff.

Because of the plummeting national economy, it has forced the newly elected Council to take a stronger stance on unnecessary spending by making both the Council and each of the 32 tribal departments “responsible and accountable” financially to the Tribal membership. Welsh stated, “Basically, it has forced each council member to exercise his or her fiduciary responsibility to our people.”

This was accomplished by the following:

    Justifying and streamlining service program budgets in accordance with their missions;
  • Strengthening the CRIT Accounting Department to ensure acceptable financial practices are maintained for compliance with auditing requirements;
  • Identifying all tribal bank accounts & investments to ensure CRIT receives the return on investments;
  • Hiring a qualified, certified controller to ensure better over-sight and compliance;
  • Outsourcing certain financial services, such as payroll, to reduce expenses & financial liabilities that were incurred in the past;
  • Eliminating the various boards that had day-to-day financial and operational control over the 10,000 acre tribal farm and other large revenue generating enterprises. Thus, eliminating the “redundancy” in the administration of tribal businesses and resources, while ensuring accountability & transparency.
  • Bringing all of the Tribes audits current, so that crucial grant programs can have their contract monies up front at the start of the year, and not have to resort to a lengthy “reimbursement” process.

By taking the actions described above, Welsh stated, “We are finally positioning ourselves financially to be in a stronger position to begin planning to develop new enterprises, such as the gas stations, RV Parks, and creating more jobs. Hopefully, by doing these a long overdue tasks, we will have a brighter future for all of us.”

Finally, the Council will be able to provide current & up-to-date financial reports to the tribal membership at its regular monthly meetings, which has long been lacking.

Mr. Welsh can be contacted at Tribal Executive Offices at (928) 669-1219.

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