On March 12, 2012, the Office of the Assistant Secretary–Indian Affairs published the attached FEDERAL REGISTER notice announcing that a series of tribal consultations will be held on several issues that impact Indian Affairs (IA), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).
Consultation Topics. Specifically, tribal/tribal organization input is sought on:
• Administrative Organizational Assessment Draft Report which is a third-party evaluation of administrative support structures for the BIA and BIE that resulted in a “baseline analysis and initial conclusions that alternative options should be considered” for such structures. The draft report also identifies possible service delivery options, provides recommendations, and best business practice options, including peer agency (IHS, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Forest Service, and Executive Office for the United States Attorneys) best practices that could be adapted to Indian Affairs.
Section III of the report presents the evaluator’s findings regarding IA’s operational efficiency and effectiveness; delivery options to address the findings; and recommendations on a course of action, including an implementation plan, in the areas of budget and financial management; acquisition and contract management; property management and building maintenance; human resources; safety management; and communications. The draft report is available at http://www.indianaffairs.gov/idc/groups/public/documents/text/idc017342.pdf.
• BIA Streamlining Plan, with particular focus on consolidation of agency or field offices with minimal staffing and/or services, and consolidation of regional office programs or services to achieve efficiencies. The streamlining efforts are, in part, driven by the FY 2013 Indian Affairs budget proposal that an anticipated $15 million reduction in administrative costs would be realized through department-wide and program streamlining efforts. A proposed streamlining plan has not yet been released.
• BIE Streamlining Plan, with particular focus on efforts that would help meet “imminent budgetary constraints” and improve the educational program quality. The BIE is also expected to meet administrative costs reductions totaling $5 million. A proposed streamlining plan has not yet been released but the Assistant Secretary has stated in a memorandum to employees that some ideas include:
— creating up to four regional comprehensive educational centers aligned with the current Associate Deputy Directors offices
— eliminating Education Line Offices in lieu of creating the regional comprehensive educational centers
— realigning BIE Division of Performance and Accountability and Division of Administration staff to the centers
— transferring some key staff from both of the above-mentioned Divisions to BIE Central Office-Washington
• Johnson-O’Malley (JOM) Student Count Update, as required by the FY 2012 appropriations House Report, tribal input is sought on the updating on the number of students eligible for the JOM program. No proposed process on which to comment is provided.
• Draft SF42B Assurance Statement–Non Construction Programs, which is used with Tribally Controlled Grant Schools to transfer funds. The draft SF42B has not been provided but comments are sought on the proposed assurance statement:
Will comply with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001, and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Consultation Dates. The dates and places for the upcoming series of consultations are:
April 12–13, 2012 Miami, FL – Miccosukee Resort and Gaming
April 19–20, 2012 Scottsdale/Fountain Hill, AZ – Radisson Fort McDowell Resort Hotel
April 26–27, 2012 Airway Heights, WA – Northern Quest Resort & Casino
May 3–4, 2012 Rapid City, SD – Holiday Inn Rapid City-Rushmore Plaza
May 10–11, 2012 Durant, OK – Choctaw Casino Resort
May 17–18, 2012 Lincoln, CA – Thunder Valley Casino Resort
Additional information the regarding reservations and agenda are included in the attached notice. Written comments may be submitted through May 25, 2012.
Please let us know if we may be of further assistance regarding the upcoming Indian Affairs tribal consultations.