Special BC Meeting 3 PM Friday April 25 regarding Elders Party & Youth Development Fund [UPDATE 2]

UPDATE: Oneida Eye has been informed that, amidst fireworks, both the Elders recognition event and the BC Resolution establishing the Youth Development Fund were deferred to another meeting.

UPDATE 2: Here are the draft minutes of that meeting:

_____________________________

The Oneida Business Committee will be holding a Special Meeting today at 3 p.m.

Among the Open Session items on the agenda are some that were previously discussed at the April 9 and April 23 Regular BC Meetings.

Namely the Elders-recognition luncheon plan update for the event meant to replace the Oneida Elders’ Christmas parties that was cancelled in 2013 due to cost containment, as well as the BC Resolution establishing a Youth Endowment Fund.

As Oneida Eye previously reported regarding the attempt to make up for the cancelled Elders’ event, BC Chair Ed Delgado had first wanted to hold it in May in a tent behind Norbert Hill Center, stating that he wanted to hold the event for closer to $3,000 than the normal budget of $10,000 for the holiday party. He also stated that if the party was held at the Raddison they would be limited to the Radisson’s regular menu.

Upon being informed the weather might still be chilly in May, Ed suggested moving the event to the Norbert Hill Center cafeteria.

As seen in the video below, elders who attended the April 9 BC meeting flatly rejected the idea of holding the event in a tent and didn’t seem too impressed with the idea of using the cafeteria, which would likely have meant using cafeteria tables with attached benches that aren’t access-friendly.

When GTC & SEOTS advocate Mike Debraska asked if the Tribe’s Thornberry Creek golf course restaurant could be used instead and the Milwaukee-area elders be invited to attend given that their holiday party had been cancelled as well, Ed said that the BC could look at that option and a motion was passed for his office to come back with a plan.

The vote tally on the motion for the Chair’s Office to come back with a plan was as follows:

Ayes: Patty Hoeft, Vince DelaRosa, Greg Matson, Paul Ninham, Melinda J. Danforth

Abstained: David Jordan, Brandon Stevens

Oneida Eye has been informed that the Chair’s office has stated that Thornberry Creek would be too small to accommodate everyone, which doesn’t seem to make sense given that it hosts large buffets and has seating on two floors, as well as balcony area with a nice view.

Apparently the option of using a supper club in Seymour, WI is being looked at instead.

We wish the elders luck and hope they enjoy their well-deserved event in a time when so many budget cuts are affecting their programs.

As for the Youth Endowment Fund item, sponsored by Internal Services Director Joanie Buckley and Oneida Trust Director Susan White, the draft copy of the text provided in the April 23 BC Meeting Packet seems to show that much of the language of the BC Resolution to establish the fund is based a similar program being set up in November 2000 by the Hopi Tribal Council.

The draft states:

WHEREAS, the Oneida Business Committee wished to further the youth developmental goals of the Oneida Tribe by creating a segregated fund to receive tax deductible contributions from donors, which are eligible for charitable contribution deductions under Internal Revenue Code Section 170 and 7871, and which the Oneida Tribe shall utilize consistent with the purposes of the Endowments Ordinance, Chapter 84 […]

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin establishes the Oneida Youth Development Endowment Fund as a segregated Fund of the Oneida Tribe.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the funds dedicated to the Oneida Tribe Youth Development Endowment Fund by the Oneida Business Committee as part of the Tribe’s segregated Endowment Fund are no longer a part of the Oneida Tribe’s General Funds and will be kept separately and managed in accordance with the requirements of the Ordinance Chapter 84 Endowments.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Oneida BC Chair and the Oneida Tribal Treasurer are hereby directed to immediately take all actions necessary to fulfill their responsibilities under Endowment Ordinance Chapter 84 to fully implement the Oneida Youth Development Endowment Fund.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that until such time as the Oneida Youth Development Endowment Fund has organized its Board to its satisfaction, or has duly enacted the necessary by-laws, there shall be an Interim Endowment Board with all the powers necessary to implement the purposes and policies of Section 7871. The interim Endowment Board shall dissolve immediately upon reaching a market value of one million dollars, at which time the fund will be moved to the Oneida Trust/Enrollment Committee pursuant to Sec. 84.6-1 of the Endowments Ordinance, Chapter 84. The interim Board, through enactment of the by-laws, shall consist of representation from each of the following offices and/or organizations: the Office of the Internal Services Director, the Office of Grants and Scholarships, the Oneida Trust Committee, the Office of Governmental Services. The Chairman shall serve as ex-officio of the Interim Endowment Board.

Oneida Eye also notes that, in addition to the establishment of the Youth Development Fund, there was an item on the April 23 BC Regular Meeting regarding amendments to the Minors Trust Agreement.

Among the proposed changes are the following to section titled, Early Distributions (pre-18) for Health, Education & Welfare. Whereas before the section read:

Upon the petition of the parent or legal guardian of a beneficiary, and upon a showing of financial hardship, the Oneida Appeals Commission or its designated agent may order distribution of trust proceeds prior to the beneficiary’s attainment of the age of eighteen[.]

…however the amendment says:

The Oneida Trust Committee may order distribution of trust proceeds prior to the beneficiary’s attainment of the age of eighteen provided that the Oneida Trust Committee  determines that (1) the distributed funds will be used solely for the health, education or welfare of the minor beneficiary, and (2) the distribution is the result of an Unforseeable Emergency.

Such a change raises the question of who initiates the process for early distribution. The parent and/or guardian seem to have been taken out of the process.

Does that mean that the Oneida Trust Committee could initiate the process of seeking to remove funds from the Minors Trust for what they consider to be an ‘Unforseeable Emergency’ and take it upon themselves to decide where those removed funds would go and how they’d be used?

Would the federal sequestration that resulted in emergency cost containment measures and an emergency furlough policy qualify as a basis on which the Trust Committee could order distribution?

Could the Oneida Trust Committee decide to remove funds from the Minors Trust to cover health care & education costs, including health care provider and education provider salary increases?

The amendments go on to add the following to the Minors Trust Agreement:

If any dispute arises out of the distribution of a beneficiary’s interest under the Trust, all such matters shall be resolved according to the procedures set forth in the Oneida Administrative Procedures Act, except as otherwise provided in the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin Revenue Allocation Plan.

Where does that leave GTC in terms of having final say about decisions regarding Trust-wide “early distributions” being used for what the Oneida Trust Committee and the BC decide they think warrants removing funds from the Minors Trust?


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