Tribal Government & News

Tribal Council appoints Editorial Board, OKs stipend

05.17.2017 Dean Rhodes Tribal Council

Tribal Council appointed five people to the newly created Editorial Board and set the stipend board members will be paid during the Wednesday, May 17, meeting held at 11 a.m. to accommodate council members’ travel needs.

The Editorial Board was created by the Independent Tribal Press Ordinance, which took effect in mid-January. Board members are required to serve their terms of office “free from any undue influence or political interest” and they are charged with establishing and enforcing an editorial policy for Smoke Signals that “will be fair and responsible in reporting of general news, current events and issues of Tribal concern.”

Appointees include former Tribal Council member Andy Jenness, who is interim director of communications at the University of Oregon School of Journalism; Mia Prickett, a Tribal member who lives in the Portland area and is a director at Skyhigh Networks; Monty Herron, a Tribal member who recently moved to the Grand Ronde area after receiving his master’s degree from Portland State University; David Harrelson, a Tribal member who is the Tribe’s Cultural Resources Department manager; and Siobhan Taylor, who worked for the Tribe as Public Affairs director for more than nine years and is the current executive director of the Willamette Falls Heritage Area Coalition.

Jenness was appointed to a one-year term, Prickett and Herron to two-year terms, and Harrelson and Taylor to three-year terms.

Board members’ stipends are in line with those paid to other boards and committees with $325 per month for any month in which the board holds a regular meeting plus reimbursable expenses. Board members will be paid an additional $50 for another meeting in a particular month for a maximum stipend of $425 per month.

At the Tuesday, May 16, Legislative Action Committee meeting, Tribal Council Secretary Jon A. George said the Editorial Board will be responsible for overseeing Smoke Signals, but not take over the day-to-day operations of the Tribal newspaper.

“This board will not, basically, take over Dean’s job,” George said, referring to Publications Coordinator Dean Rhodes, who has edited the Tribal publication for almost 10 years. “They are not going to be like the editor of the newspaper. … We still have Dean and his talented staff that really are going to produce the newspaper.”

Tribal Council member Chris Mercier, who used to work for Smoke Signals and championed the Independent Tribal Press Ordinance, said that Tribal Council recently received a complaint from a Tribal member about a news items and the Tribal member was told to contact the editor of Smoke Signals.

“We don’t have any editorial power over Smoke Signals,” Mercier said.

In other action, Tribal Council:

  • Authorized a Tribal credit card for Early Childhood Education Manager Angie Blackwell that will be used to pay for criminal background checks with the state and fingerprinting;

  • Appointed Justine Colton to serve on Tribal Court’s Tribal Member Review Board;

  • Approved a funding agreement with the Bonneville Power Administration for a maximum of $132,711 annually to fund the Tribe’s participation in the administration’s processes in the Tribe’s ceded lands through the Northwest Power and Conservation Council;

  • Appointed Christopher Mansayon and Peter Grout to the Education Committee through March 31, 2019;

  • And approved the enrollment of three infants into the Tribe because they meet the requirements outlined in the Enrollment Ordinance and Tribal Constitution.

Also included in the May 17 Tribal Council packet were approved authorizations to proceed that directed Tribal staff to demolish the structure on the old casino Human Resources property, named Education Department Manager Leslie Riggs as the Tribe’s representative to the Salem-Keizer Public School Title VI PAC and nominated Tribal Council member Denise Harvey to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee with Tribal Council member Brenda Tuomi selected as the alternate.

In addition, an approved staff directive selected Hilltop Public Solutions as the firm to perform public affairs and public relations consulting on Portland-area issues of Tribal concern.

Cultural Resources Department staff members Bobby Mercier and Brian Krehbiel performed the cultural drumming and singing to open the meeting.

The entire meeting is available for viewing on the Tribal website at by clicking on the News tab and then Video.


Per capita date approved

Tribal Council held a special meeting on Monday, May 22, and approved Friday, June 9, at the next per capita payment date.

Finance Officer Chris Leno said that the amount of the per capita payment will not be known until Friday, June 2.