Funding bottleneck creates problems for programs, employees
Writing a check does not seem like rocket science. But for tribal employees and programs waiting on funding that’s already been authorized, the money might as well be coming from the moon.
Some tribal employees say they’ve been waiting since December for a simple travel reimbursement for a trip mandated by their supervisor.
Veterans’ program payments are also being held up, and even Council delegates are complaining they’ve been waiting weeks or months for their expense checks.
Domestic violence shelters, whose contracts with the tribe were approved in November, have yet to see a cent. And nobody seems to know where the money is.
Lorena Halwood, executive director of Amá doo Alchini Bighaan in Chinle, has had to furlough most of her employees and created a thrift store in the program’s hogan to stay afloat until the money comes in.
“Domestic violence doesn’t take a break,” she said.
While five people have called the Times to report a holdup in their funding, Halwood was the only one who would go on record.
“If you raise a ruckus, your request goes right to the bottom of the stack,” explained one tribal employee who has been waiting for a reimbursement check for three months.