Claudette Carnett is now serving as Osage Nation Gaming Board Chair after the three-member board voted for her to serve in the top officer post for the next year.
On Oct. 25, the three-Osage member gaming board met and conducted the annual board officer elections as required by Osage law on boards and commissions. Outgoing Board Chair Geoff Hager made the nomination for Carnett as he asked the board members for chair nominations.
Hager has served the past two years as board chair and will now serve as vice chair as part of the officer election results. Carnett, who has served on the gaming board since her 2022 confirmation by the ON Congress, previously served as the board’s vice chair.
“It is a privilege, everything that we do with and for the Osage Nation,” Hager said before the officer election. “I wanted to express appreciation for the time in this position, it has been a tremendous learning curve and a great experience, one that I think very fondly of. With that, we will move into election of officers.”
“I’ve been very proud of our board over this last year with all of the circumstances that we have faced and I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve been unified as a board … I said last year that I would do this for another year and I did and I feel very good about the work that’s been done on the prior year. I would like to make a nomination for myself for Claudette Carnett for chair,” Hager said. Board member Bruce Pollock seconded the motion afterward.
With no other nominations made, Hager announced “Claudette Carnett congratulations” and turned the meeting over to her.
Carnett then nominated Hager for the vice chair position and Pollock seconded the motion. With no other nominations, Hager will serve in the one-year officer position.
Hager then nominated Pollock for secretary/ treasurer and Carnett seconded the motion. After Pollock was declared secretary/ treasurer, Carnett presided over the remainder of the meeting.
The change in officer elections comes during a busy year for the seven-Osage Casino gaming enterprise with openings of the new Pawhuska and Bartlesville casino properties. Hager and former gaming board members and casino management officers also faced scrutiny in February by the ON Congressional Commerce, Gaming and Land Committee over a Gaming Commission report investigating the expense reports of casino management in a three-year span.
After the officer elections, Carnett said “I appreciate the chance to be chairman for the next year, I also want to thank Geoffrey Hager for chairing from the last year, it’s been a very interesting year and I think that he did a most phenomenal job. He was really instrumental in helping us with some really, really difficult things we had to work on and I think was such a tremendous leader and I’m just so grateful he was there because he has such skills and knowledge.”
Based in Missouri near Lake of the Ozarks, Carnett is a seasoned gaming business professional with experience in marketing and management. Pollock, who lives near Kansas City, Mo., is an operations manager for a towing company and Hager is CEO and owns Big Elk Energy Systems in Tulsa.
Amid a year-plus-long construction delay due to supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, both casino projects proceeded and the Pawhuska casino/ hotel opened Oct. 5 and the Bartlesville property is scheduled for a Nov. 16 grand opening.