Employees of the National Indian Gaming Commission wore blue earlier this year as part of efforts to combat human trafficking. Photo: NIGC

Employees love working at the National Indian Gaming Commission

The National Indian Gaming Commission, the independent federal agency that oversees the $32 billion tribal casino industry, is one of the best places to work in government, according to a new survey.

According to the 2018 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, 88 percent of NIGC employees are satisfied with their work at the agency. That was the highest rate seen across the U.S. government.

“When you look at the high-percentage answers from our civil servants, it’s clear they are here for the right reasons,” Margaret Weichert, the acting director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, said in an October 25 press release announcing the survey results.

The NIGC didn't just see an overwhelming number of satisfied employees. Between 2017 and 2018, it saw the largest increase -- 14 percentage points -- in the number of happy workers, according to the results. Additionally, the agency saw a 13 percentage point increase in the number of employees who participated in the survey.

NIGC's notable placement in the survey comes as its employees gain national recognition for their efforts. Dustin Thomas, the agency's director of compliance, recently received a Native American 40 Under 40 award from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.

Additionally, Thomas, who is Mohawk, and a second employee, auditor Gena Caviness, were named as Emerging Leaders of Gaming "40 Under 40" by Global Gaming Business Magazine.

“At the NIGC we strive to provide tribes with the best support possible to help grow the industry. This award shows all the hard work our employees are putting in to reach our mission and support the continued growth of the Indian Gaming industry,” NIGC Chairman Jonodev Chaudhuri said in recognition of Thomas and Caviness.

The NIGC is considered a "small" agency in the survey. Of 109 employees surveyed, nearly 58 percent responded.

The survey did not detail employee satisfaction at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is part of the larger Department of the Interior. It also did not break out results from the Indian Health Service within the Department of Health and Human Services.

Overall, more than 10,000 employees who identify as American Indian and Alaska Native responded to the survey. They accounted for about 2 percent of responses.

According to 2014 figures from the Office of Personnel Management, which are the most recent available, more than 30,000 federal employees identify as Native American.

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