|October 25, 2012
CSKT children's settlement funds wend their way to IIM accounts
Nearly 1,800 tribal members under the age of 18 were impacted by Councilís goal of putting half of their Salazar Settlement funds into their IIM accounts. When Council made that decision, there was no guarantee that a waiver would be granted by the US Treasury to allow the transfer. The waiver was granted in early October.
A team of accounting and IIM staff are currently finalizing the transfers of approximately $9 million to minorsí IIM accounts. Just as they always have, Tribal members will be able to access their funds according to terms explained in the IIM ordinance.
Making this transfer happen took many staff hours. This was not a simple task.
The first step was obtaining the waiver from the US Treasury. Anyone who has worked with the federal government will appreciate the formidable task of obtaining a clearance from a large branch of government. CSKT staff dealt with the OST, the Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians, a part of the US Department of the Interior. The accounting staff made numerous calls each week to the OST offices in Washington, D.C., all in an effort to get a decision before September 12 when the settlement checks were sent out. The decision didnít come until October, which forced the CSKT accounting staff to implement an alternative plan of creating internal accounts for the 1,800 minors, a massive undertaking. The challenge was made even more difficult because the staff sought safe investments, which generated interest on the accounts during the waiting period. At the time, there was no way to know if or when the waiver would be given. However, the waiver was granted by October and, soon after, instructions arrived at the CSKT accounting office on how to proceed with the complicated transfer process. During the wait, CSKT minors earned interest, which will be included in the transfer to IIM accounts. The IIM accounts currently earn around three percent. The CSKT staffís hard work will result in many years of healthy interest earning for the youngest of our tribal members.
Not everyone sees the behind-the-scenes work and dedication of the CSKT financial offices. Council wanted everyone to understand the enormity of the job behind serving the Tribal membership.