Government , Minerals Council

Osage Nation Congress votes ‘no confidence’ in BIA Superintendent Robin Phillips

On Day 13 of the Hun-Kah Session, the Fifth Osage Nation Congress passed three pieces of legislation, which includes two Osage law amendments and a resolution expressing no confidence in Bureau of Indian Affairs Superintendent Robin Phillips.

During the April 10 session, the resolution regarding Phillips passed with 11 “yes” votes and one abstention from Congresswoman Shannon Edwards. According to the resolution (ONCR 17-12 sponsored by Congresswoman Maria Whitehorn), the Congressional resolution is a request “that Robin Phillips be removed from the position of Superintendent of the Osage Agency.”

Whitehorn said she filed the resolution after hearing from officials with the Osage Minerals Council and Executive Branch expressing difficulty in working with Phillips. For example, officials with the Nation’s Membership, Tribal Development and Land Acquisition departments and Office of Self Governance and Strategic Planning said they had difficulty in obtaining information for their work, Whitehorn said before the vote.

The resolution also notes the OMC passed a similar resolution (3-68) also expressing no confidence in Phillips or her ability to perform the duties as Superintendent.

Oil and gas production has been stalled for two years under Phillip’s management at the BIA, causing many local producers to go out of business or leave Osage County.

Before the vote, Edwards asked if abstaining from voting is considered not participating in a vote due to a conflict. Congressional legal counsel Loyed “Trey” Gill said she would not be participating if she abstained. Edwards filed her reason for abstaining in writing to Congressional Speaker Angela Pratt.

Edwards said she abstained because is a judge for the southern plains region, and as such is a temporary part-time employee of the BIA.

In other passed legislation, the Congress also approved two Osage law amendments which are:

- ONCA 17-34 (Whitehorn) is an amendment to the Open Records Act to make interest or ownership of restricted or trust property a protected record, meaning these documents are not available to the public.

- ONCA 17-36 (Congressman Ron Shaw) is an amendment to the Capital Asset and Improvement law to remove the requirement of approval of a capital budget by a Congressional resolution. This law pertains to capital assets which has an initial purchase price of $10,000, except for land.

The passed legislation is now subject to consideration of action by Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear.

During the session and committee meetings held in the Congressional chambers building, those public meetings (except executive sessions) will be live streamed at: www.osagenation-nsn.gov/multimedia/live-media

For more information on filed legislation, session and Congressional committee meetings, visit the Legislative Branch website at: www.osagenation-nsn.gov/who-we-are/legislative-branch

 

With additional reporting from Shannon Shaw Duty