Native Sun News Today Columnist
I was asked about those standing committee meetings in Rapid City. I said they are expensive. The committee presidents should be capable of getting business done according to committee directives and be the ones to travel. An entire committee does not need to travel together. I know existing committee members are skilled or experienced in individual areas. But, as a whole, they’ve proven incompetent. Committee meeting agendas are a complete mystery until after the minutes are printed and made public. Currently, as in the past, most of the council members sit on the “tribal” finance committee. Obviously, they have a deep desire to control money. I recall the 1981 education committee had only five members while nearly the entire council was on the finance committee. In 2017, in a Native Sun News article, Jeff Whalen publicized “tribal” budget numbers indicating a massive travel total of $875,000 for the council and executive officers. Nearly half had exceeded their budgeted amount and “enacted” more money into their travel accounts on top of their annual salaries totaling more than a million dollars in one year. What should be common knowledge now is the historic fact that a majority of our elected officials took advantage of the federally-sanctioned “tribal” government system. As a result, nepotism and cronyism, among other corrupt government activities, ran within this circle of “elite” elected officials.
Star Comes Out. Photo courtesy Native Sun News
Not everyone is so corrupt though. We have a handful of principled elected officials. They pay for their committee meetings out of their salaries. Some of these elected officials gave their travel expense money to their respective districts to help address the needs of their elderly, sick, and destitute. Appallingly, this small group is often ridiculed and/or ignored for their stance on equality and ethics. It appears that the insubordinate politicians in power are oblivious to the people’s needs. I, as a voter-resident, have been managing to make ends meet with my fixed-income, which is a task in itself. I remain grateful for the fact that my representative’s travel money helped me on at least one occasion.
Ivan F. Star Comes Out can be reached at P.O. Box 147, Oglala, South Dakota, 57764; via phone at 605-867-2448 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join the Conversation