by Marly F. Edenso
September 17, 2004
KIC Tribal members did you read September 15th front-page story regarding KIC settlement issue contentious ? If you didn't I hope you find a paper and read it. Your elected officials, Tribal Council members are ready to hand over $45,000.00 of tribal funds to one tribal member for no justifiable reason. What program is going to have to be cut $45,000 to pay this disgruntled employee? It appears this tribal member is very greedy and doesn't seem to care what happens to the rest of the tribal members. She already has been awarded $80,000 and wants $45,000 more for 6 weeks of "mental stress" from KIC employment? I protest the Tribal Council awarding it and I protest it vigorously. I plead that the rest of you tribal members call your Tribal Council members or attend the next Tribal Council meeting and express your opinion on the action they are contemplating.
In my opinion our elected Tribal Council members (excluding Madame President and Honorable Council member Sam Bergeron) do not appear to be fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility to the tribal members by supporting and passing this type of uncalled for award of KIC funds. Tribal Council members are required, in their capacity as Tribal Council members, to act on behalf of all tribal members, in their best interests, in good faith and with care, impartiality and loyalty. This action is not in the best interests of all KIC tribal members.
Well known and very competent attorneys have informed the Tribal Council repeatedly that they should not be involved in personnel issues. Why does KIC's Tribal Council continue to involve themselves in personnel issues? The employee has not even filed a claim! Maybe we should all start hounding the Tribal Council members and see if we can get a hand out too. It is not right that the Tribal Council is in essence waiving KIC's right of sovereign immunity. This sets a very bad precedence for future claims against KIC. KIC does not have to pay anything to this employee. Why are Tribal Council members so willing to give her KIC funds?
Mr. Arriola says the issue has been dragging on for two years and it's time to settle the suit. Did he not hear the attorney say there is no claim, which would include (law) suits? So what is there to settle Mr. Arriola? According to KIC management very little KIC funds have been spent on this issue. The KIC insurance company handled the workers compensation issue. KIC did not pay those attorney fees or the $80,000 award.
Mr. Makua says he is interested in protecting the tribe's resources. Then why is he so willing to give $45,000.00 to one member when there is no justification? Again this Council member states there has been a lot spent on the issue when the fact is a lot of funds have not been spent. Where do they get their information? Not from KIC Management.
Ms. Hawkins has been a long time friend to the employee so it does not surprise me she voted for the payment after stating she was going to follow the attorney's recommendation. Maybe, the attorney's recommendation and warning were not understood by our elected officials? Seems to be pretty straightforward facts in the newspaper and in the public documents if you take the time to locate and read them.
Mr. Sanderson stated that it has taken a lot of time and he would like to settle the case. I repeat there are no claim, no case, no suit, no lawsuit only continual confrontation and pushing from one employee and her family and friends.
Mr. Jenson was present by teleconference and did not comment to the Ketchikan Daily News, but he did in fact vote to give the employee the $45,000.00 award. I would like to know Mr. Jenson's reasoning.
Ms. James comments are very interesting and defy logic. She states the attorney stepped beyond the Tribal Council's request. Does that mean she should ignore good, sound legal advice regarding protecting the tribes assets and fulfilling her responsibilities as a Tribal Council member? It is interesting that Ms. James supports this so whole heartily when the issues involving this employee all occurred prior to her getting involved with KIC and the Tribal Council.
The Tribal Council has no business inquiring as to whom was responsible for the termination. That is an administrative function that is the responsibility of the Chief Executive Officer, not the Tribal Council. Requesting that type of information is attempting to micro-manage the KIC administrative staff. In the past, every time the Tribal Council has tried to manage day-to-day operations of the tribe it has only caused problems, creates uncertainty and havoc, and opens the tribe up to potential claims and bad publicity.
If our Tribal Council members can't stand up the to nagging and aggressiveness of one past tribal member employee, where are we? Who have we elected to lead us and preserve our assets and funding?
This claim by the past employee was handled and closed by a previous Tribal Council.
In my opinion the Tribal Council members that have voted in favor of this action are totally out of line and are not looking out for the best interest of all tribal members. If they are up for re-election don't vote for them. If they are not up for re-election maybe they should be recalled before they give away any more KIC assets in such an irresponsible manner and end up jeopardizing KIC's funding.
I know from first hand knowledge that there are plenty of KIC elders, unemployed and underemployed members that need KIC's help. How many will have to be denied if the Tribal Council approves this "settlement"?
KIC members express your dissatisfaction for this action.
Respectfully submitted for your consideration,
Marly F. Edenso
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