(TAHLEQUAH, OK) - A report from the Cherokee Nation Compensation Committee earlier this week recommends pay increases ranging from 26% for Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd to 104% for incoming Deputy Chief Bryan Warner.
If approved by the Tribal Council at their July 15th Rules Committee meeting, Principal Chief-elect Chuck Hoskin Jr. will make $350,000 per year upon taking office in August, an 84% increase over outgoing Principal Chief Bill John Baker's $190,000 annual salary.
Following the announcement of this proposed pay hike, Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick announced on Facebook his intention to file legislation that would block the pay hike and provide a "substantial" pay increase for Cherokee Nation employees.
On Saturday, Councilors Walkingstick, Shawn Crittenden, and Dick Lay filed a legislative act titled "The No Pay Raise for Elected Officials Act of 2019", which would keep salary schedules the same if passed by the Rules Committee.
Regarding this legislative act, Walkingstick said the following:
"The way that the Cherokee Nation spends its money reflects our values as a tribe. If we hike salaries for our political elites while our citizens go without adequate housing and healthcare and our hard-working Cherokee Nation employees go underpaid, we will be sending a message to the world that the Cherokee Nation does not care about its people."
"I am calling upon the Tribal Council and our incoming executive officials to publicly reject these massive pay increases, and instead focus on the issues we all campaigned on, like improving the quality of our health systems, taking care of our Cherokee elders and youth, and bringing in high-paying jobs to Cherokee country."
The Cherokee Nation Rules Committee will meet publicly at 11:00 am on Monday, July 15th at the W. W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah to discuss and vote on the proposed pay increases.