Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s general manager has resigned.
Lawrence SpottedBird worked with the tribal government for two years and announced his resignation to STA on Tuesday (4-26-16). His last day will be June 30.
Mike Baines, chairman of the tribal council, says SpottedBird helped turn the tribe’s financial situation around. Before he became the general manager, Sitka Tribe of Alaska was operating with a budget deficit. Now the agency has a surplus in the bank.
“He found some money that we should have been able to get but nobody pursued it, maybe they didn’t know about it or something, but he found some pretty knowledgeable people with financial expertise and got some money that we don’t have to borrow that money anymore from the bank,” he said.
He says Spottedbird also started several tribal corporations and a new company called Sitka Tribal Sports, which manufactures basketballs and footballs.
SpottedBird came to Sitka from Washington State with more than 30 years experience working with tribes and Native American entrepreneurs on business and economic development. He is a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma. While in living in Sitka, he was part of a veterans group and was an active member of the city’s Citizen Task Force that tried to find solutions for Sitka’s own budget woes.
“He’s been a real good asset to the tribe and the community and he’s always been a real good guy to work with,” he said.
Baines says SpottedBird resigned for personal reasons. His wife moved to Seattle last year and he wants to be closer to her.
Tribal council member Ben Miyasato says he’s worried SpottedBird’s resignation will affect the future of the tribe and council, but he would not elaborate further as to why.
Baines says the tribe is beginning a search for a new general manager immediately and hopes to hire someone before SpottedBird’s last day at the end of June.
SpottedBird could not be reached for comment.