Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Freedom Of Information Draft Document From Disbanded Constitution Revision Commission

Feather News

The Tribal Council has yet to release to Tribal members the proposed freedom of information ordinance that is currently under consideration. At today's Tribal Council meeting, a proposed freedom of information ordinance was tabled until next week's meeting.

Thus far, Tribal members have not been given an opportunity to review the proposed ordinance.

In 2005 the now-disbanded Constitution Revision Commission had worked on a draft freedom of information amendment to the Mohegan Constitution. Although the Commission has since been disbanded and the proposed amendment was not acted upon, the Feather News obtained the text of their proposed amendment dated May 2006:

Government Accountability

Freedom of Information. The Members of the Tribe reserve to themselves the power to obtain information concerning the operation of the Mohegan government and all tribally owned enterprises. No peson, entity, government branch or department shall create procedures or legislation that unreasonably inhibit the power of tribal members to obtain available information. Within one hundred twenty (120) days of approval of this Article, the Mohegan Tribal Council shall enact legislation to provide for the disclosure of information to Tribal Members, consistent with this Article. The legislation shall provide for the disclosure of the following information, subject to the exceptions set forth in Section 2 below. Available information shall include but not be limited to:
a. financial records and contracts for the Mohegan Tribe and all tribally owned entities;
b. the Tribal Roll indicating only the names of all enrolled members of the Mohegan Tribe and an annual summary of changes to the Tribal Roll (name changes, additions, and deletions);
c. governmental budget information and ledgers;
d. compensation, salary, bonuses and benefits for all positions within the Tribe and tribally owned entities;
e. all government and departmental policies, ordinances and resolutions of the Tribe;
f. all meeting minutes of the Tribal Council and the Council of Elders excluding minutes of Executive Session meetings;
g. all findings, minutes, determinations, recommendations and imposition of any sanctions and or penalties, and written transcripts of the Mohegan Tribal Ethics Commission within thirty (30) days of the conclusion of any Mohegan Tribal Ethics Commission case.

Exceptions to Disclosure. Exceptions to disclosure may be made: for information concerning personnel matters, applications for tribal membership or health information, for information for which disclosure would jeopardize the functioning of the tribal government or a tribally owned entity or would violate any applicable federal law or contractual obligation of the Tribe.

Limited Waiver of Sovereign Immunity. The sovereign immunity of the Mohegan Tribe is expressly waived to authorize Tribal Members to bring actions for declaratory, injunctive and mandamus relief in the Mohegan Tribal Court for enforcement of the provisions of this Article and the provisions of any legislation enacted pursuant to (the first paragraph) of this Article.