Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Shutdown continues to impact local reservations

Rocky Boy cutting services, Fort Belknap continues on, but BIA still shut down


October 10, 2013

As the federal government shutdown closes in toward a third week, impacts are still hitting the local area, with the tribal government at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation announcing furloughs and reduced hours in some departments.

At Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, Chief Administrative Officer Loren “Bum” Stiffarm said he would know more after a finance meeting this morning, but, for the moment, the Fort Belknap Indian Community has not laid off or furloughed anyone.

“Not yet,” he said. “We’re surviving.”

But the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs still is essentially shut down, with a skeleton staff in the Fort Belknap Agency offices, which are closed to the public at the moment.

At Rocky Boy, the Chippewa Cree Tribe’s Business Committee said in a press release that program directors have submitted plans to reduce expenses, including reduced work weeks, furloughs and volunteer furloughs for employees, and the Business Committee members themselves taking a 5 percent pay cut and a reduced work week, 32 hours, during the shutdown.

Most federal agencies completely or partially shut down Oct. 1 when Congress failed to pass a budget or a temporary extension to keep services running. The Republican-controlled House originally required some kind of cut or delay in implementing the health care reform passed in 2010, with the Senate Democrats — and President Barack Obama — saying they would not vote on a budget extension with strings attached.

While the focus now is on the Oct. 17 deadline to raise the debt ceiling to allow the U.S. Treasury to sell bonds and continue to pay the nation’s bills, negotiations continue on passing a resolution to re-open the federal government. But no definite end is in site.

The council of the Chippewa Cree Tribe said in the release that the total impact on employment and services at Rocky Boy is unknown.

“There is no speculation as to how long the furloughs will last and what the lasting impacts will be on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation,” the release said. “All employees are encouraged to stay in contact with their immediate supervisors, director, and human resource office.”

The plans in place will help the tribal government keep essential services in place, the release said, adding that the shutdown also impacts others services such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, contracted with the state government.

The TANF program now will be operating on a four-day work week and will be closed Fridays, the release said. Applications will still be taken by the TANF program; however, no funds will be available until further notice.

The Rocky Boy and Havre TANF offices will be open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, while the Box Elder TANF office will be open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, the release said.

Other programs at Rocky Boy listed in the release include the Rocky Boy Clinic, which will be operating on a full 40-hour work week.

The Rocky Boy Police Department will be in full force with some maintenance staff taking furloughs, and Tribal Water Resources will be in full operation with essential staff only and will be on a 32-hour work week, the release said.


Reader Comments

tellthetruth writes:

According to the article the BC took a 5% cut in pay, plus went to a 32 hour work week. That's 25% not just 5%.

JoeSmith writes:

Actually Larry Johnson, there are reasons people don't answer the phones. The reasons are; they are usually on the other line visiting with friends or family, on Facebook, gone from their desk for a trip to the store, went home to lay around awhile, away from their desk taking care of personal business, on their cell phones texting, out searching for pills. there are just too many reasons to list. But you get my point. All while on the clock. I know because I work in Rocky Boy

chris writes:

@ Larry, Never heard of you, I take it you were looking for a donation? or just talkin s$%t if you want to bash us call me at the HIP office i'll be more than happy to meet with you!

LarryJohnson writes:

So at least there is a reason why no one will answer the phones now.

snickers2013 writes:

Don't forget Salazar monies - $30,000 each for the business committee member and $300 for the people. Go figure 5%...just keep your sacrificial 5% bc.

BC105k writes:

Slap in FACE to all tribal members. BC 5% cut in pay, what a joke! BC should try 50%! BC needs to take care of the ppl, no their pockets. All 9 BC members make $105,000+ each plus all travel n per diems. No justification for such a huge BC raise from the get go. Where's the investment $$$ & Cobell $$$? Slap in the tribal members faces! Vote or the same BC members? Tribal members thought their pockets were empty before, now think who you voted for...

michael writes:

There is a lot of complaints on facebook from some the people that were laid off but most of these people were sitting on their butts all day being on facebook when they were suppose to be doing their job and they know who they are.

wowza writes:

insiders acknowledge privately that had the tribe managed itself properly, not even expertly but simply properly, their people would not have to be furloughted. go buy from the market up here and see the markup, look at the agency casino and nwinz and see the people. we cant see plain green but can only go off their word, which is 'all good there'. it simply does not add up. so drink the koolaid mr whitford is offering via the pravdaradio

bill writes:

$56 per hour at a five percent cut is $2.80, now the BC will only be making $53.20 an hour, wow what a sacrifice. Employees at 32 hours are being cut twenty percent. Laid off employees will get about fifty percent of their income. The shameless scam goes on. How ironic, a guy who was facing 17 federal charges is now signing paychecks for the lucky ones still working.


It's a SHAME that reservations have to suffer. The people who embezzled money from the tribe over the years and NEVER paid back to the tribe is despicable. SORRY BUT THE TRIBE MUST PAY FOR THE PROBLEMS IT'S OWN PEOPLE CREATED.


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