Thursday, November 19, 2015

Council Honors Edgmon; Approves Budget Increase

From the left, Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, Senior Director of Nursing Sandie Hathcoat, Health Services Executive Director Connie Davis, Redbird Smith Health Center public health nurse Craig Edgmon and Principal Chief Bill John Baker. Edgmon is being honored for his efforts in saving an unresponsive patient.

The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council met Monday and, during the meeting, Principal Chief Bill John Baker recognized Redbird Smith Health Center public health nurse Craig Edgmon for his heroic actions during a home visit, where he resuscitated an unresponsive patient.

The council also approved a $5.3 million increase to its 2016 comprehensive budget to $772.3 million. The increased funding up from $767 million comes from carryover funds, grants and other sources.

Nearly $1 million of the increase is designated for job training for clients in the Tribal Employment Rights Office, which negotiates for job slots for contractors doing business with the Cherokee Nation and refers certified Indian-owned businesses to fill those vacancies.

“The Cherokee Nation has never been more prosperous than it is today, and that is due to the financially sound practices of our employees,” said Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd. “Our employees do not simply rely on the guaranteed funding from the federal government or the dividend from our business arm, but they seek out grant opportunities and other sources in order to enhance our programs and better serve our citizens.”

The council approved the largest comprehensive budget in the tribe’s history at $767 million in September. The fiscal year 2016 budget is $35 million more than fiscal year 2015.

In other business, the legislative body confirmed the nomination of Junior Dewayne Littlejohn as a member of the Cherokee Nation Administrative Appeals Board. Littlejohn, of Stilwell, has served as a judge for the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Westville and Watts. 

The next council meeting will be at 6 p.m. Dec. 14, at the W.W. Keeler Complex in Tahlequah.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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