Cherokee leaders OK budget increase for marshals

04/18/2019 04:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Shannon Buhl, director of the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, talks about deputy marshal pay rates April 15 during a Tribal Council meeting in Tahlequah. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Dr. William Pettit, dean of the future Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation, and OSU Center for Health Sciences president Kayse Shrum pose for photographs with the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council on April 15. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH — Cherokee Nation leaders this month increased the Marshal Service budget by $256,757 for salary hikes.

Shannon Buhl, director of the CN Marshal Service, said the additional funds would be used to bring approximately half of the agency’s 31-officer force up to Bureau of Indian Affairs pay-scale standards.

“Everybody will meet the standard of the BIA now,” Buhl told the Tribal Council on April 15. “Some people get raises just because their salary was actually lower than the BIA.”

To arrive at individual salary rates, Buhl said, the CN Human Resources Department took into consideration the position and employee’s years of service. Those were compared to pay rates of equivalent BIA officers.

“If that equaled the same BIA officer and their years of service, then they don’t get a raise because they already meet that BIA standard,” Buhl said. “If they did the calculation that pay falls under the BIA standard, that’s where that bump in salary will come from.”

Buhl added that if a CN deputy marshal is paid more than the BIA standard, “We’re not going to decrease that marshal’s salary.”

“What the law states is equal to or greater than the counter BIA officer,” he said.

The Tribal Council unanimously approved the budget modification.

“Our Cherokee Nation Marshal Service is such an invaluable asset to our local communities,” Dist. 7 Tribal Councilor Canaan Duncan said in a statement afterward. “I am happy that our Tribal Council was able to work with the administration and secure the funding for pay increases that is bringing all of our Marshal Service to or above the BIA standard.”

The Marshal Service is a certified law enforcement agency with jurisdiction throughout the Cherokee Nation.

Med School Partnership

Also at this month’s meeting, representatives of Oklahoma State University presented beaded stethoscopes to council members to celebrate a CN-OSU partnership for a new medical school.

“These were made by a Cherokee artist and the beads were done by hand,” OSU Center for Health Sciences president Kayse Shrum said. “We want to thank you and let you know how proud we are to be partnering with you for the first medical school to be located on tribal land in the United States.”

The OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation is set to open next year in Tahlequah.

“I’m honored to serve as the inaugural campus dean,” Dr. William Pettit told councilors. “In our medical profession, they are very, very excited. We are really the center of attention for most of our profession.”
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