By PATRICK LAMBERT
Hello Everyone, it’s hard to believe that its already been two months since getting sworn into office. But, we haven’t let up on our drive to make as many needed changes for our employees and Cherokee families as possible. We have spent many hours tolling over the budget looking for every way possible to find ways to save money. And, I am proud to report that we have been able to cut over $28 million dollars from the budget and were able to keep every person employed with no loss in pay! We have even been able to build in many raises and great new benefits for our employees and families. The Tribal Council has been hard at work on the budget hearings and should be completing our work this week.
The following is a listing of several other events we have been doing since the last report:
Thursday, Nov. 5
We had a fairly light session of Tribal Council since Council had worked so hard during the previous month of Annual Council in October.
Tuesday, Nov. 10
I chaired the first Business Committee meeting since all the new Council and Executive have been seated. There hadn’t been a Business Committee in several months prior to that so there was a lot of business carried over that needed to be handled. But, we all stuck with it and worked most of the day to get through the agenda. That same day, I also attended a flag retirement event at the Tsali Care Center where the Steve Youngdeer American Legion Post 143 retired a flag that was aged. I had lunch with the Tsali Care residents following the event. I was glad to see several of our seniors there and to be able to share a meal with them.
Wednesday, Nov. 11
I attended and delivered a speech at the Veteran’s Ceremony at the Cherokee Indian Fairgrounds. The ceremony was very moving, and there were several awards given to some very distinguished members of our community. I was honored to be a part of that.
Monday, Nov. 16
Along with Tribal Council, I attended a meeting with the Attorney General of North Carolina, Roy Cooper. The meeting was very informative, and we discussed many issues including jurisdiction and efforts protecting tribal sovereignty. Attorney General Cooper is running for the Office of Governor of North Carolina in the upcoming elections for the state and federal governments.
Wednesday, Nov. 18
Cyndi and I attended the senior luncheon at the Dillard House in Georgia with all of the senior centers represented. I was happy to see everyone and we all enjoyed a very good meal. Painttown Rep. Tommye Saunooke attended on behalf of Tribal Council, and everyone was glad to see her as well. Thank you Tsali Manor for the invitation.
Thursday, Nov. 19
I went to Robbinsville to feed the football team at Lynn’s Restaurant. It was great to eat and visit with the Robbinsville Black Knights football team on their way to the victory they just achieved! Good luck to them in the Championship on Dec. 12 at Wake Forest!
On the 19th, I also attended Snowbird’s Thanksgiving dinner which I always enjoy. Usually, Cyndi and I attend together, but both Snowbird and Big Cove held their dinners on the same night so we had to split and go in both directions, she went to Big Cove to join them for their dinner. We had a good time at both community dinners. Thank you so much.
Saturday, Nov. 21
This day, Cyndi and I both walked (not ran) in the Turkey Strut 5K race in support of the Kituwah Parent Group. It was a nice day, a little windy, but, I was happy it wasn’t a half marathon. I was still recuperating from the one on Halloween day.
Later that evening, on the 21st, we were invited to the Wolfetown Community Thanksgiving Dinner so we went and enjoyed a very nice dinner with the Wolfetown community. We were able to visit with some good friends and good people from a good community. Thank you Wolfetown for having us.
Sunday, Nov. 22
I was invited to two Thanksgiving Dinners on this day. One was with a local church; the other was with a family who are very dear to me and Cyndi. I attended by myself because Cyndi was a little under the weather, but I enjoyed the meals at both places. Thank you for the invitations.
Monday, Nov. 23
On this day, I issued a Veto on the Marijuana bill. I remain opposed to it because it authorized Tribal money to be spent on the study of the recreational use of a drug. I have stated that there may be good medical uses, but any drugs used for recreation are not a direction I believe we should be headed toward.
Also on the 23rd, I attended a dinner at the Children’s Home that evening. I enjoyed visiting with the children there at the home. I want to applaud the staff there for all the good work they do taking care of our children. The dinner was very good and also the visit was a lot of fun. I had to take the Vice Chief to school in a friendly game of Foosball, ask him about it. J Thank you all for the invitation!
Tuesday, Nov. 24
We held a second Business Committee meeting and were able to get all our business matters for many of our enrolled members completed. This meeting didn’t take near as long as our first because our backlog was mostly worked thru already.
Thursday, Nov. 25- Sunday, Nov. 29
As everyone knows, we had our Thanksgiving Holidays from the 25th – the 29th. I was happy to grant our employees additional admin leave for these days so that they could spend time with their families. It was a good break for everyone!
Monday, Nov. 30
On our return on the 30th of November, I made a presentation of the budget to Tribal Council, and we got right to work on the budget. Our budget hearings have been continuing for last week and should be getting wrapped up in a few days.
Again, I appreciate all of the hard work from our tribal employees over the past month and also my staff. Everyone has worked diligently and consistently for the past couple months, and I appreciate every one of our Tribal Employees!
I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I have issued a great work schedule during the Christmas and New Year Holidays (two weeks where we only work on Monday and Tuesday of each week!) so that everyone can reconnect with family and spend time with those people in our lives who matter the most. I want to encourage everyone to resolve to make 2016 the Best year ever and to always put God first!
We are truly blessed as a Tribe, and I will work my hardest to do good work for all of us and ask you to be mindful that I can’t do it all myself; I need your continued support.
God Bless you and your family and may God Bless the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Thank you!