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Osage Congress votes on board confirmations during final session days


Benny Polacca

The Fifth Osage Nation Congress voted to confirm several individuals for serving on several government boards during the final days of the 2017 Hun-Kah Session.

Board members considered for repeat terms, which are three years, include those considered during the April 20 session.

The Congress voted unanimously to confirm Bill Thorne for his inaugural term on the Health Authority Board. Other Health Authority Board members who were confirmed for repeat terms are Mike Moore and Nancy Keil. Congressman Joe Tillman abstained from voting for Keil, who is his aunt.

Home Health Board members Debbie Cheshewalla and Carla Brown received confirmation votes for repeat terms on the board. Cheshewalla and Brown received 10 “yes” confirmation votes, one absence from Congressman Ron Shaw and one abstention from Congresswoman Shannon Edwards

Brown, who was the lone board appointee present for the April 20 session, addressed the Congress before the vote. Edwards asked Brown if she felt the Nation’s Home Health entity is making progress toward profitable status.

Brown said one issue with Home Health is “we are always waiting for someone to pay us” regarding money and billing. “Our administrator tries to stay on top of it, but Medicare is not always forthcoming in turning over the money.” Brown also added the Home Health client count has gone up since she’s been on the board and said another issue is not receiving referrals to ON Home Health because patients are not widely informed they have choices in selecting home health care.

Jerri Jean Branstetter received 10 unanimous votes for another term on the Osage News Editorial Board. Branstetter is the third Editorial Board selection by board members Teresa Trumbly Lamsam and Lu King and has served on the board since 2012. Congressional Speaker Angela Pratt abstained from voting for Branstetter, who is her aunt.

Congress also unanimously confirmed Monte Boulanger for another term on the Foundation Board.

On April 24, the final day of the Hun-Kah Session, the Congress confirmed Gary Burd for serving on the Utility Authority Board. Burd, who has served on the UAB since 2014, was not present during the session but submitted a Congressional questionnaire used for vetting all board appointees regarding their professional experience and background.

The Congress confirmed Burd for another term with 10 “yes” votes and one “no” vote from Edwards who said she had questions regarding Burd’s questionnaire answers. Congressman RJ Walker noted this will be Burd’s second term and he’s been vetted with other board members in the past and confirmed for the initial term.

The next regular Congressional gathering will be the Tzi-Zho Session starting Sept. 5 for a 24-day duration. During that time, the Congress will consider and take action on legislative bills/ resolutions, the 2018 fiscal year government budgets and other board and commission appointees subject for Congressional confirmation. 

Original Publish Date: 2017-05-09 00:00:00


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Benny Polacca
Benny Polacca started at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter and has covered various stories and events impacting the Osage Nation and Osage people. Polacca is part of the News team awarded the Native American Journalist Association’s Elias Boudinot Free Press Award in 2014 and other NAJA Media Awards and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter awards for news coverage and photography. Polacca is an Arizona State University graduate and participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota. He previously worked at The Forum newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. region as the weeknight reporter.

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