The Cherokee Nation received some good news this week as the tribal council approved an increase in the tribe’s operating budget and to set guidelines regarding how elected officials for the tribe are compensated.
The vote came during the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council’s monthly meeting held in Tahlequah, Okla.
The Nation’s budget increased by more than $8.2 million, with more than $2.2 million of that amount earmarked for public schools due to additional revenue made through the Motor Vehicle Tax fund, which has provided more than $43 million to school districts within the Cherokee Nation over the past decade. Additional funds were also added to the budget for housing and road construction projects.
The council approved a measure that would allow for a citizen’s committee to make recommendations for salaries of all Cherokee Nation elected officials, including the Principal Chief, Deputy Principal Chief and the Tribal Council members. The committee will consist of two appointees from the Principal Chief, two from the tribal council and one from those four members of the committee. The Principal Chief and the council would retain the right to reject the recommendation of the committee if needed.
“An intent of the legislation is for the independent citizens committee to determine the best way to have a sound salary structure for elected officials and to review those salaries periodically and make needed adjustments or reasonable increases on a consistent basis,” said Meredith Frailey, speaker of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council.
In other business, the council unanimously passed a resolution applauding the government of the United States for endorsing the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it passed a resolution confirming the nomination of Dan Agent as an editorial board member of the Cherokee Phoenix, passed an act setting policy requirements for the Cherokee Nation Higher Education scholarship program, and passed a resolution approving the submission of federal highway funding for a bridge in Rogers County.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Council will be on Monday, March 14, at 6 p.m. in the Cherokee Nation complex in Tahlequah.