Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

April 24, 2008

Hospital takeover concerns mount

(Continued)

TAHLEQUAH DAILY PRESS —

The first resolution, 11-93, was passed with full support of the council in February 1993, during Chief Wilma Mankiller’s tenure. The second, 15-06, reaffirmed the original resolution and was passed in March 2006, also with full support and endorsement of the council under Chief Chad Smith’s administration.

Hoskin agreed there may be legislation in place providing the chief with authority to enter into such agreements.

“I’m going back to my office to review the information,” he said. “It may be that we need to amend that legislation to require the chief, to at the very least, ask the council for ratification when he enters into such an agreement. It surprises me a previous council would have given up this power.”

While the chief may legally be permitted to enter into such agreements, Hoskin pointed out it is up to the council to make budget allocations.

“The one thing the council has is the power of the purse,” he said. “They can approve a takeover, and we can agree to not allocate one thin dime to its pursuit. It’s really the only leverage we have.”

Frailey stipulated that indeed, the tribal council “has authority from a financial oversight capacity in approving the budget covering the assumption of the [hospital] operations.”

“The decision to approve a budget for that purpose will involve careful consideration and deliberation by tribal council members,” wrote Frailey. “Specifically, the tribal council has authority as a legislative body and as a representative of the Cherokee people to be involved in the planning and analysis of assuming operations at WWHIH. During a recent CN Health Committee meeting, a request was made and approved to involve the tribal council in an advisory capacity to serve on the negotiation team when those conversations begin with IHS.”

In addition to Frailey, members include Jack Baker, Brad Cobb, and Bill John Baker.

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