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Tribal-Managed Programs Evaluation Feasibility Study: Initial Teleconference Meeting

Monday, September 30, 2002, 1:00-3:15 p.m. ET


ASPE: Andy Rock, Tom Hertz, Peggy Halpern, Hunter McKay

IGA: Eric Broderick

IHS: Sharon Hoppman

Project Hope/South Dakota: Kathy Langwell, Valerie Meiners, Tom Dunn

Project Hope/Maryland: Janet Sutton, Jeff Stensland

Iron & Associates: Pam Iron

IMT Inc.: Frank Ryan

Westat: Sherm Edwards, Cindy Helba, Brian Colhoff


This teleconference was scheduled as the initial meeting of the Tribal Self-Governance Evaluation Feasibility Study group. Issues to be discussed at the meeting included review of the project schedule, criteria for selecting the Technical Working Group members and agenda for the first TWG meeting, DHHS contacts for obtaining data for development of the Tribal Matrix; topics for the Small Group Discussions, and the Communication Strategy for the project.

Participants on the conference call each introduced themselves. Andy Rock, the ASPE Project Officer, then gave a brief summary of the background and objectives of the project.

Project Schedule:

Two project schedule issues were raised and discussed:

  1. The time frame between selection of Tribes to receive site visits and completion of the site visits is only eight weeks. This is likely to be an underestimate of the time required to negotiate agreements to participate, arrange the agenda for each site visit, and conduct the site visits to six Tribes. If possible, selection of Tribes to receive site visits should be resolved by Week 18 which give the project team an additional month for gaining agreements to participate, organizing, and conducting the visits. The Project Officers agreed that it was a tight schedule and that an earlier decision would be made, if possible.
  2. The First Meeting of the Technical Working Group is scheduled for Week 12 of the project, which is the week before Christmas. After discussion, a decision was made to move this TWG Meeting to the week of December 2, 2002.

Criteria for Selection of Technical Working Group Members:

The group discussed what criteria would be used to choose the 10 technical Working Group members. After much discussion, it was decided that the group would consist of:

  • 4-5 Tribal leaders,
  • 4-5 Tribal program staff experts with hands-on experience including an emphasis on financial management personnel (e.g. CPA experience),
  • 1 data expert, and
  • 1 researcher.

It was also agreed that efforts will be made to choose TWG members who represent large tribes, small tribes, Tribal associations, and that the Tribal program staff selected should include those with experience with Head Start and TANF programs, as well as health programs. A process will be initiated to contact knowledgeable individuals from Tribal organizations and the federal government to solicit names of potential TWG candidates. Once these discussions are completed, a list of 10 candidates and 10 alternates will be prepared and submitted to the Government Task Order Managers for discussion and final selections.

Draft Agenda for the First TWG Meeting:

A Draft Agenda for the First TWG Meeting was distributed for review prior to the conference call. Discussion of the draft agenda produced agreement on three changes.

  1. During the initial ‘Introductions/Welcome’ session, ground rules for participation of non-TWG members in the discussion would be established.
  2. At the close of the ‘Project Overview’ session, each TWG member would be asked to provide their individual definitions of ‘Self-Governance’ and to identify key issues for Self-Governance that they think are most important.
  3. A “brainstorming” session would be held at the end of the first day to identify priority topics for the breakout groups on the second day.

Contacts within DHHS for Collecting Data to Develop Tribal Matrix:

The project team will develop a Tribal Matrix, by Week 8, that presents for each Tribe the programs (e.g. health, TANF, Head Start) that they are currently managing under contracts or compacts. Data for this Matrix will necessarily be obtained through DHHS offices responsible for these programs. The Government Project Officers indicated that they would follow-up and identify the appropriate government contacts that can provide this information. One possibility raised was the Technical Assistance providers for these programs. There are currently 34 Tribal TANF programs and over 100 Tribally managed Head Start programs.

Priority Topics for 6 Small Group Discussions and Potential Sites:

It was decided during project negotiations that six Small Group Discussions would be held at two major conferences held by national AI/AN organizations or at federal workshops or meetings that bring together Tribal members. Some possibilities include the National Conference of American Indians conferences in either January or June 2003 or the Budget Consultation meetings in May 2003. Another possibility is a regional meeting or conference that would draw large numbers of Tribal members and program staff.

Discussion of specific priority topics for the Small Group Discussions was postponed until the next conference call on October 7 at 1 p.m. ET. Prior to that meeting, a list of possible topics will be circulated for review.

Communication Strategy:

The discussion of the project communications strategy included a suggestion that the DHHS website established for the project continue to broadcast what is happening with the project. It was also suggested that a link be established from the I.H.S. website to the project website. The main website might be interactive with the audience so that people could provide comments or post questions. The project team and government staff on this initial conference call agreed to have a monthly conference call and minutes will be distributed to participants and posted on the website. Communications with Tribal leaders about the project will begin with dissemination of a one-page project description and a letter inviting comments and questions, with a contact list and the DHHS website address. A complete Communications Strategy Report will be prepared and submitted to the TOMs by Week 6 of the project.

Report on Legislative History and Self-Governance Experience:

Frank Ryan is preparing the ‘Report on Legislative History of Tribal Self-Governance’, for submission to the TOMs in Week 6. Frank pointed out the multi-faceted nature of Self-Governance and the fact that the history of Self-Governance went as far back as 1938. He asked how far back the group felt he should go with the history. Andy suggested that the history be inclusive enough to be interesting to readers with little background in this area, but brief. Frank briefly explained the many different levels of Tribal Self-Governance and how those levels have developed and evolved over time.

Next Steps:

  • The Government TOMs will identify appropriate contacts within DHHS from whom data from the Tribal Matrix may be obtained.
  • Kathy will prepare a draft “Dear Tribal Leader” letter and a one-page project description and forward it to the TOMs for review.
  • Jo Ann and Kathy will develop a list of possible topics for Small Group Discussions and forward it to project participants for discussion at the next conference call, scheduled for Monday, October 7th, at 1 p.m. ET.
  • The project team will begin the process of identifying potential candidates for the TWG.