Highlights of issues the Isleta Tribal Council discussed on Tuesday, April 02, 2013.

All Council members present.

Governor Eddie Paul Torres and Lt. Governor Antonio Chewiwi present.

Lt. Governor Isidor Abeita arrived at approximately 11:10 a.m.

*** I missed the first hour of the Council meeting.


The Isleta Tribal Council discussed proposed amendments to the Isleta Personnel Policies and Procedures manual.  Human Resources Director, Olin Calderon, was responding to various questions from the Council.

Council member Joseph “Cougar” Lucero stated that for the past three years the Pueblo has had a problem with program directors and supervisors failing to submit budgets on time.  He stated that directors do not listen to the Treasurer for the Pueblo and that there was no accountability from them. Lucero suggested that the Pueblo hire a “Tribal Administrator” to “ensure accountability of directors and supervisors because the Governors are too busy.”  Lucero stated that “no one is holding them accountable.”

President James Abeita commented, “Well, who are we accountable too? There’s nothing that makes the Council accountable.”

Lucero replied, “As legislators we need to lead by example.  We need to be drug tested, get full criminal background checks and provide full financial disclosure.” Lucero stated that the Council is accountable to their constituents. He said that he does not understand why the Council is afraid.

Secretary Verna Teller expressed concern that the Council is reluctant to deal with directors.  She used Isleta Social Services as an example.  Teller stated there was a report identifying serious problems with Social Services. [The report was issued during a prior administration.]  Secretary Teller stated that the prior Councils did nothing to address the problems with Social Services.  She stated, “This body is protecting that program.”  As a result, our children are the ones paying the price.  Secretary Teller stated that the Council should develop a policy to ensure that directors are accountable for the quality of the services provided to the community.

Governor Torres replied to Teller by stating, “That the most important thing to a family is their home.  Yet, we have a director [Denny James] at housing that is not doing his job.”  Torres stated that he brought Housing in before the Council. But, “the Council did nothing.”

Governor Torres explained that the administration is in the process of restructuring. The Governor plans on combining programs into departments.  Torres said, “Once we do this it will show us whether programs are working. Let’s try restructuring before we get a Tribal Administrator.”

Council member Cynthia Jaramillo stated that, “we can’t just remove the director [IPHA] or we would be facing a lawsuit.”

Council member Barbara Sanchez made a motion to approve policy number 210 with amendments to be provided by Olin Calderon.  Joseph “Cougar” Lucero seconded the motion.  The motion carried with 9 in favor, 3 opposed and 1 abstaining. Secretary Teller and Council members Juan Ray Abeita and Cynthia Jaramillo opposed.  Vice-President Michael Allen Lente abstained.

Policy number 210 concerns the probationary period of employees working with the Pueblo.  The amendment will increase the probationary period for new hires.  [My understanding of the duration for the probationary period was unclear.]

Council member Juan Rey Abeita made a motion to approve policy number 401 as presented by Olin Calderon with amendments. The motion carried 9 in favor, 2 opposed and 1 abstaining.

Policy number 401 concerns annual leave for employees.

The amendments to revise policy number 210 and 401 were not provided to persons attending the meeting.  So, at this time, I cannot provide you with the details on the amendments.

The Council broke for lunch.



(***The Isleta Tribal Council & Governor Eddie Paul Torres ordered me to remove information from this blog. To review their demand letter, click the following link: April 3, 2013, Council Ltr. Demanding Removal of Information.

The Isleta Business Corporation (IBC) provided the Council with its annual report.  The Board of Directors for IBC includes:

Harold Culbertson, Chairman
James Fitting, Vice Chair
Nathan Lucero,
Fayla Kovacs, and
Michael Paquin

Management of IBC includes:

Chip R. Martin, Chief Executive Officer
Elli Mishra, Chief Financial Officer
Brandi Ruffin, Operations Director
Martin Abeita, Comanche Ranch Manager
Jamie Owens, C-Store Manager

Chip Martin, CEO, made the presentation to the Council.

The IBC has by Isleta Tribal Council employees.  By Isleta Tribal Council are tribal members.

The IBC entered a partnership with By Isleta Tribal Council LLC.  The partnership purchased an By Isleta Tribal Council Albuquerque.

The IBC established the Native American Insurance Group, Inc. (NAIG). The purpose is to provide Health, Dental, Vision, Property and Casualty, Business, and Worker’s Compensation Insurance. The NAIG has agreements with Lorraine Chavez Insurance Agency, First Santa Fe Insurance Services, and New York Life.

IBC Board Member, Nathan Lucero reported about the IBC’s investment with VehSmart.  VehSmart is a device that is installed in vehicles. It records information about the vehicle’s location.  It monitors the driving habits of the person driving the vehicle such as speed, acceleration, hard braking etc.  Lucero also sits on the Board of Directors for VehSmart.

Nathan Lucero explained that some of the devices are being installed in tribal vehicles. He also explained that IBC is considering a venture with the Government of By Isleta Tribal Council  for the devices.  They are still in the process of discussions.

Vice-President Michael Allen Lente expressed concerns about VehSmart.  He stated we are investing in the Tribe’s money into the project and then the Tribe is also buying the device to install in tribal vehicles.  Council member Joseph “Cougar” Lucero stated that the Tribe should buy and install the device in tribal vehicles to show our confidence in the product. According to Lucero, it will then enable the IBC to sell the product to other tribes.  He believes the first question that other potential buyers will ask is whether [our] Tribe installed the product.

C-Store Revenues

                        Revenues                    Net Loss         Net Profit

2008                By Isleta Tribal Council

2009               By Isleta Tribal Council

2010                By Isleta Tribal Council

2011                By Isleta Tribal Council

2012                 By Isleta Tribal Council

IBC developed a new employee manual for the C-Store.  According to the IBC, the manual provides clear daily operational procedures.  It includes job descriptions and performance expectations to employees.

According to the IBC’s charter, it is responsible for managing:

The Isleta Travel Center;
The Isleta One Stop;
The Isleta Conservation Enterprise; and
The Comanche Ranch.

Comanche Ranch             EOCY 2011               2012 EOCY
Net Income                        By Isleta Tribal Council

One Stop
Net Income                            By Isleta Tribal Council

Travel Center
Net Income                           By Isleta Tribal Council

According to the CEO, the One Stop and Travel Center had lower revenue due to shutdowns from construction.


The Council reviewed the meeting minutes for January 24, 2013, January 29, 2013 and March 7, 2013.

Council member Juan Rey Abeita moved to approve the minutes for January 24th as corrected.  The motion carried 9 in favor, 1 opposed and 1 abstaining. (Joseph “Cougar” Lucero opposed, Barbara Sanchez abstained, Phillip Jiron was not present).

Council member Josephine Padilla moved to approve the minutes for January 29th as corrected.  The motion carried 9 in favor, 1 opposed and 1 abstaining. (Joseph “Cougar” Lucero opposed, Barbara Sanchez abstained, Phillip Jiron was not present).

Vice-President Michael Allen Lente moved to approve the minutes for March 7th as corrected.  The motion carried 10 in favor, 0 opposed and 1 abstaining. (Barbara Sanchez abstained, Phillip Jiron was not present).

The Council adjourned at 3:52 p.m.

NOTE:  I did not attend the Council meetings conducted on March 26th & March 28th.

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By Christopher Abeita

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