Monday, August 15, 2011

40 Days Until the New Election: Crittenden vs. the Clock

S. Joe Crittenden took his oath(s) of office(s) yesterday.  As we mentioned in yesterday’s blog, Crittenden laid out some pretty big plans for his short term.

He also told the Cherokee Phoenix about what his plans are, and his budget priorities.  The budget is supposed to be passed by the Tribal Council by October 1, and the budget has already been sent over. 
Of course, the council gets a proposed budget from administration but they are the ones with the final responsibility to actually pass it as a law and allocate money.  The interesting thing is that the guy who sent the budget over (Smith) is not the guy who will be sitting in the Chief’s chair when the council passes the budget and the Chief has to sign it into law. 

Time is short for Crittenden as he tries
to push his priorities through.
That gives Crittenden some leverage with the council (which includes Baker, of course, at least until after September 24) to make changes that he wants.  Theoretically, he can threaten to veto any budget he doesn’t like.   So he can advocate for all kinds of new things in the budget. 

The problem might be where to find the money.  Assuming that Smith budgeted most (if not all) of the available money, Crittenden or the council will have to propose cutting some services to add money to his pet projects.

The other alternative that has been kicked around has been to raise the dividend and get more money out of the businesses.  It’s been tried before, and failed, but we were told that Crittenden said yesterday at the inauguration he’d like to try it again.   Either way, we’ve got just a few short weeks to pass the budget and for Crittenden to be Chief, and it’s impossible for him to do what he wants without either making drastic cuts to some budgets to accomplish his goals, or a change to the dividend law, but who knows how long that might take, if it happens at all.

Stay tuned to see what happens, because it is starting to look like Crittenden’s going to try to pack a lot into his 6 weeks or so in charge.  It should be interesting.

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