District 3 Cherokee Nation Tribal Councilor David Walkingstick has announced he will introduce legislation to provide pay raises of $2,000 to $3,000 for all full- and part-time CN employees.
Walkingstick made the move ahead of the Monday, July 15 Rules Committee meeting, wherein the Tribal Council will vote on a measure to block proposed pay raises for elected officials, which would amount to 84 to 104 percent hikes.
Walkingstick and Dick Lay were candidates for principal chief in the recent election. Chuck Hoskin has been declared the winner.
"I am excited to announce the 'Cherokee Nation Employees Pay Raise Act of 2019,' which will raise salaries for Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses employees by $2,000 to $3,000," Walkingstick said. "Our Cherokee employees have gone without a true pay increase for too long, and we have seen the result of this as we continue to lose some of our best workers to better-paying employers. Over the past eight years, the Cherokee Nation has lost over 140 doctors due to pay and poor working conditions, and our health systems have suffered because of this."
Walkingstick criticized the Compensation Committee's proposed "massive pay raises for Cherokee Nation politicians," citing the need for better pay to recruit "top talent."
"I've visited with hundreds of Cherokee citizens since this pay hike was proposed, and nearly all of them agree that this was the wrong course of action," he said. "I am proposing this act because I believe we have top talent in the staff of our Cherokee Nation departments and businesses, and we have not been paying them what they are worth. I hope that my fellow tribal councilors feel the same way and that they will support this modest pay increase for our great Cherokee Nation employees."
The CN Rules Committee will meet publicly at 11 a.m. Monday, July 15 at the W. W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah to discuss and vote on the proposed pay increases. Walkingstick will move to amend the agenda to place "The Cherokee Nation Employee Pay Raise Act" up for consideration and a vote.