By Norman Arriola
January 19, 2010
We are sorry our decision to limit Organized Village of Saxman (OVS) participation in the health committee to one person has offended you. Ketchikan Indian Community (KIC) is required by law to follow the KIC Charter and Constitution and KIC Tribal Council decisions must comply with these documents. In this case we realized the past makeup of the health committee did not comply with the intent of our governing documents and needed to be changed to ensure the make up of the KIC health committee more correctly represented the KIC membership.
The people of the OVS are contractual users of the KIC tribal health clinic, not stake holding members of KIC; as such, KIC has no legal obligation to provide any representation on the health committee to the OVS. OVS participation on the KIC health committee is a courtesy that the membership of KIC through the Tribal Council has granted to the people of Saxman out of respect for our close ties.
The Organized Village of Saxman has approximately 45 regular users of the KIC clinic or less than 1% of the regular users. Even if all the eligible residents of Saxman used the clinic in comparison to approximately 5000 eligible KIC members, it would still be less than 6% of the eligible users.
For KIC's 5000 members to be equally represented to OVS few hundred members represented by three, the total number of committee members would have to grow to 60 with 57 representing KIC. This number is completely unworkable. Additionally, Ordinance 7 requires voting members of committees be made up of elected members of the KIC Tribal Council. In an effort to correct previous errors and comply with our constitution and bylaws as well as streamline what is essentially an advisory committee, we decided to cut the health committee positions to 6.
While we believe it is reasonable to make all seats on the committee represent the membership: the owners/majority of the users of the clinic; we decided it was in the best interest of all to continue extending the courtesy of allowing OVS continued representation on the health committee in the form of one seat.
It was not our intention to marginalize the OVS and we are deeply sorry that in following our charter and constitution you believe we have done so. Budget considerations were secondary and should not have been mentioned, for this we apologize. We look forward to the continued participation of the Organized Village of Saxman on the KIC health committee.
Received January 18, 2009 - Published January 19, 2010
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