By Samuel Alexander
As a former treasurer of the Osage Nation, I took an oath of office in front of Honorable Marvin Stepson in May 2016. It Is my recollection in the oath was to forever uphold the Osage Constitution and a responsibility to the Osage people. Not during my term of office but forever. I take this oath seriously and I believe my observations are relevant.
No financial professional is going to knowingly engage in a scenario where his qualifications and judgment are questioned by unqualified individuals. My term ended prematurely because I did not argue with anyone. I was respectful but not to the point of getting shoved around.
It was a genuine pleasure and an honor to serve for the limited time of such a prestigious and historical tribal government. I had excellent employees and met wonderful Osage people to enjoy the rest of my life. I regret my term ended prematurely.
The Osage people have so many wonderful citizens from all levels of society. They can and should do a better job of electing their legislature.
Certain legislators traditionally carry an attitude and presence harmful to tribal administrative continuity. As part of that, the legislature lacks proper respect for professionals including past treasurers; all of whom are experienced certified public accountants licensed to practice.
Separation of powers violations and legislative interference resulted in two expensive lawsuits. While the court system clarified these issues, informed independent financial professionals know and have avoided the chaos.
From May 2016 to September 2018, a qualified treasurer was in place. The controller and medical clinic accounting specialist were both young Osage certified public accountants acquiring valuable experience. Monthly accounting and interim financial statements were produced, and the financial audits were completed on time.
The legislature ended this fiscal management teamwork and effort. The two young Osage CPA’s are gone. Read the pertinent minutes and understand the votes. Read and understand the Supreme Court cases [Standing Bear vs. Whitehorn, Standing Bear vs. Pratt]. To suggest the present administration is solely responsible for the treasurer vacancy and instability in financial reporting is simply untrue.