As President, one of the concerns I struggle with, almost on a daily basis, relates directly to the great number of issues we are addressing on the Board. There is a lot going on these days, and we are committed to look closely at everything. The concern I am referring to, however, is not about work. It’s about time and how there seems to be less and less of this precious commodity available every day. We are examining all our many current enterprises to see how we can make them more efficient and more profitable and, at the same time, we are evaluating a number of brand new ideas, watching presentations and making daily decisions on how much time and money we want to spend, if any, on these new pursuits.
It seems as if all my time is spent (either at the office or traveling) dealing with Tribal business. This is both exiting and frustrating because a key issue of my campaign is to return transparency to the Seminole government. I really want everyone to know what we are doing, so they will have confidence that every member of this Board is busy examining, evaluating and making decisions. I want Tribal members to take comfort that we are all working; none of us are just sitting back and waiting to see what happens.
I am very proud of this Board and how we have all have stepped up to the challenges that faced us when we first came into office. But, transferring all of this information to our communities is proving very difficult. Obviously, it is not practical to have a community meeting at each reservation, every single night. For me to comment like this about all the issues we are working on would take up the whole Tribune. And that would only be one day!
I worry every day that we are not imparting enough information to Tribal members. But we can’t have constant community meetings. Why just yesterday, after a full day at the office, I had to catch a helicopter in Hollywood at 5:45 to make it to a meeting in Brighton at 6:30 and then come back later for yet another meeting. There was just not enough time to sit down with everyone and say, “Here is what we did today!”
It’s all made even more complicated by the fact Seminole Tribe has so many non-contiguous reservations and Tribal communities, some separated by wide distances. Most Tribes do not have this issue. Full transparency is also complicated by the fact that some of our Tribal business information is sensitive and must remain private to protect our business. Still from Tampa all the way down to Trail, I know people want to know what is going on. I don’t blame any of you. Knowledge is important.
Your individual Representatives, Councilmen and Liaisons will help greatly in relaying important government information. You will continue to see us Board members at as many community events at all Tribal areas as possible. But, I feel we just have to do more and I can assure you I am trying to find a solution.
So what do you think we should do? What do we have to create that will let everyone 1) know what is going on and 2) be able to comment? If you have any ideas, let me know! The last thing I want is for people to get their information from rumors or from unauthorized websites or through social media. I have only been President for a couple months and this is, perhaps, the most frustrating part of my job: not being able to communicate the way I want to with all the Tribal members.
Tony Sanchez Jr. is President of the Seminole Tribe of Florida Inc.