Transcribed by Robert Jumper
Principal Chief Richard Sneed is presenting video chats with key guest speakers who work in different areas of tribal government and life. These videos are available via Chief Sneed’s Facebook page. The following transcribed edition is being made available to our readers with permission.
Chief Sneed: Today I am joined by Jeremy Hyatt who is the secretary of operations. If you would, tell us about some of the programs that you oversee.
Secretary Hyatt: I oversee 17 programs that run the gamut from Fire and EMS to Housekeeping and Facilities, Project Management, THPO. We have about 400 to 450 employees, 28 budgets that amount to about $80 million. Got a lot of stuff going on in this division that’s for sure. Certainly, where the rubber meets the road. Luckily, I have a lot of good folks at work with me and for me. They’re my colleagues and I appreciate them.
Chief Sneed: Specifically, what I want to talk today about is project management. I think a lot of times we hear that term thrown around. If anybody pays attention to Planning Board or Tribal Council, they have certainly heard the term “project management”. What does project management do? What’s their mission?
Secretary Hyatt: I want to make it as simple as possible: we build what happens in Cherokee minus the housing projects. If there is a building going up, if there is a project going on from say the Youth Center to the Cornsilk Center, those are the projects were over. If it comes out of the ground, project management handles it. We handle it through the planning process all the way to execution and construction, handling the contracts from beginning to end. We have a team. I think we’re at around 6 or 7 now. We currently have 25 projects on the ground, 23 of which are brick and mortar projects encompassing every community along with Cherokee County and Snowbird. They’re a busy bunch as well.
Chief Sneed: Most of what you just described there, I guess I want to differentiate between economic development projects and community projects, but what’s the difference?
Secretary Hyatt: Community projects are the things like the youth gyms, the Youth Center. Those types of things that affect the community only, not necessarily our visitors or our guests that come to the Boundary. The economic development types of projects are well, I will give you an example: one of the more successful ones we established in 2017 is Fire Mountain Trails for instance. It is something that brings revenue. It is revenue generating to a certain degree to the Boundary. It not only allows our guests and visitors to enjoy something here in Cherokee but also our own enroll citizens as well. One generates revenue, one does not. We have a lot of community projects on the Boundary and we’re trying to move in the direction of bringing more economic development projects here so that we have revenue generating and it kind of offsets. We need to have more of a balance in that regard.
Chief Sneed: On the community projects you mentioned the Youth Center, for example. When is that slated to open?
Secretary Hyatt: I want to say this time next year but I’m not for sure right now. Speaking of those we also have the Andrews sewer hookup to the Senior Center in Cherokee County. That’s a big one that we are about to cut the ribbon on soon. We have had issues with sewer backups down there. Every time it rains, we have to shut the center down. Finally, we are about to engineer and develop a sewer line to a lift station that hooks into Andrews. It’s going to be perfect. We can abandon that old sewer situation and they will be able to stay open all the time. We are also laying block for the Snowbird Cornsilk Complex. Big project down there.
Chief Sneed: Let’s talk about that one for just a minute. That’s a really big project. What all is that going to entail?
Secretary Hyatt: Huge project. It will have a have a high school regulation size basketball court. The library will be bigger. There will be more classrooms. It will essentially take everything I think except the transit building and put it into one state of the art facility. One of the bigger issues we had down there also was sewer. During the summer when we have summer camps and that sort of thing the sewer system was overloaded. Basically, it was I think four to six septic tanks. It just collected. We have to have it pumped twice a week. Now we’re building our own on-site sewer facility to handle all of that. The permitting has been done. We are about to start construction on that. Really exciting stuff down in Snowbird for sure.
Chief Sneed: There’s a lot of projects going on, so I want to thank you and your team for what they do. I want to thank Tribal Council for supporting the projects both the community projects and the economic development projects.