Osage Casino surveillance transfer went well, officials say

The transfer of the Osage Casino surveillance operations from the Osage Nation to casino management went well, according to CEO Byron Bighorse.

When the 2017 fiscal year started in October, the surveillance transfer management started pursuant to an August 2016 executive order issued by Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear. Under the previous arrangement, the casino surveillance employees were ON government employees and received their employee salaries and benefits from the government’s annual budget.

Under the transfer arrangement, the casino surveillance employees and supervisors who monitor the seven-casino operations are now under casino management. Standing Bear said the transfer would be a cost-savings measure for the government with the savings on money that was budgeted for surveillance employees.

“Nothing in this executive order diminishes or otherwise affects the authority and responsibility of the Osage Nation Gaming Commission,” Standing Bear said. The move of surveillance functions to the casino brought a savings of about $4 million for the government operations budget with the casino budgets taking on the surveillance costs, according to the Executive Branch last year.

Bighorse provided the brief update during the Jan. 11 ON Gaming Commission meeting in Pawhuska.

Gaming Commission Executive Director Elizabeth Hembree told the commission she was working with the Nation’s government property officials on a final inventory report for the surveillance equipment as part of the transfer process.

At the October gaming commission meeting, Hembree said 63 surveillance positions were transferred to be under casino management with the start of the 2017 fiscal year underway.