9 March 2016
Fellow Tribal Leaders & Interested Parties:
There is considerable effort by some tribes to convene a special convention of tribes within the Association of Village Council Presidents membership. Now, comes contrary information about a minimum threshold of tribal participation (by resolution) of 37 tribes versus 20 to convene a special convention. No matter which number is correct, the Native Village of Napaimute Traditional Council has not tendered or submitted a resolution supporting a special convention.
Napaimute Traditional Council has discussed ideas about how to improve the operations and service delivery of programs administered under compact with AVCP. We plan to share our suggestions with all member villages in the hopes of garnering support and eventual passage of the resolutions at a near-future convention. The Bylaws clearly state changes to corporate bylaws require a 30-day notice to all member villages before they are brought to the floor for discussion, debate and vote. We believe that a constitutional convention is the proper way to start the process, and also believe that a protocol should be established that clearly identifies a path and funding sources for instituting changes to the AVCP bylaws. Yes, AVCP management also has a responsibility to offer concrete and measurable steps to improve its fiscal house, relationships with member tribes and funding agencies.
We would like to suggest a different playbook, one that will have longer ranging impacts to the overall health of AVCP and member tribes. Together we can work to review and update the governance structure of AVCP to better fit the intent and mission of the organization and to provide the platform of unity and service delivery that we, the Tribal Leadership desire.
It is important that AVCP be prepared to address recent (and historical) fiscal policies and practices through written and oral reporting. It is supremely important that AVCP “come clean” and that AVCP leadership responds to the delegates of AVCP as we are the true tribal leaders of AVCP. AVCP has a responsibility to the tribes to carry out the mission of AVCP and to act on all resolutions passed by the whole delegation. This is an area that we have found lacking under this administration.
Native Village of Napaimute believes that changes to AVCP Bylaws regarding the recruitment, selection, and hiring of President, AVCP is critical to success of the organization. AVCP has stewardship responsibilities for millions of dollars and as leaders, we must recognize that who we have sitting at the helm of this multi-million dollar organization must have the requisite skills, knowledge, proven abilities and education to manage an organization of AVCP’s size and reach. To state it simply, we cannot continue to seat this position on what really is a popularity contest. Time marches on, we have grown as an organization, we have grown capacity; it is time for AVCP Bylaws to reflect that growth.
All our funding is limited and we strive to operate within budget constraints. Please join us in asking AVCP to convene a convention before May 9, 2016. This date will provide AVCP with sufficient time to prepare for a regular convention where it will answer all those questions tribes have regarding lawsuits; layoffs; cessation of programs; sale, closure or purchases of capital equipment or property; financial reporting that is current and historic, as needed; clear and measureable performance evaluation benchmarks for each program, etc. This date will allow AVCP not only to clean its house, but to reflect on its mission and service to all its members without bias or partiality.
Join us in tangibly helping to address those areas of our AVCP that require reasoned thought, hard work and hard decision-making, and planning for a better tomorrow for all tribes within the AVCP member footprint.
Devron Hellings, President
Native Village Napaimute