A Different Voice Serving the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate

An IT Breach or an IT Failure?

in SWO Politics by

As I was listening to the District Chairman’s Association, I was struck by how many came in to “Investigate the Vice-Chair’s Office and/or Political Appointees for an IT Breach of confidential information.”  Let’s review what happened.

Apparently, the Vice-Chairman and/or his political appointees wanted to review their budget.  Each office has the right to do that, and furthermore, since the Vice-Chairman’s office oversees all budgets, he has the Constitutional duty to examine all budgets.  They ran into a problem however, because the Information Technology (IT) Department had not yet set them up with computers and the equipment they needed to complete their job duties.  This is an failure on the IT Department, as they had plenty of notice that new persons would be coming on board.  The election was held in November 2016, after all, so that’s two months lead time.

I’m told they spoke with IT and IT gave them a portable jumpdrive to transfer documents to.  The budget specialist then gave them the budget matrix on that drive.  Sounds like a simple solution.

I imagine the political bruhaha started about now.


  1. The Vice-Chairman acted within his authority.  It is the duty of the Vice-Chairman to review and administer the financial affairs of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate.  See the By-laws of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Article I – Duties of Officials, Section 3. Vice-Chairman, (f) The Vice-Chairman shall oversee all financial and business matters of the Tribe.
  2. Budgets are not confidential.  Tribal Governement spends our money and we have the right to know how our government spends it.  The budgets are held in a simple Excel spreadsheet with no security whatsoever and are freely shared.  In fact, current Chairman Dave Flute has shared the budget outside of the tribal email system in the past under the same policies in effect now, so I am not sure why anyone would fault the current Vice-Chairman for simply having the file.

I really don’t see the issue with the Vice-Chairman and his political appointees.  If there was a failure of duty, it would fall on the IT Department for not having the Vice-Chairman’s office set up with the equipment they needed to carry out their elected duties.


SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS!!  I’ve heard that people were concerned about the Social Security Numbers within that file.  Oh?  Why would that be?  Social Security numbers should be confidential information and held only by the HR Department.  Then my question is “Why would the budget specialist have social security numbers on her computer?”  Wouldn’t that be a violation of confidentiality on her part then?  Since she was installed with the previous Vice-Chairman, was she directed to keep SSNs on file or did she keep them at her own discretion?  For what purpose?

CHAIN OF COMMAND!!  The Vice-Chairman did follow the chain of command.  As previously established, he has the right to review budgets, he directed his political appointees to begin the process, and the Budget Office reports directly to the Vice-Chairman.

If there must be a call for an “Investigation”, logically the investigation should look at these two departments:

  • Budget Office and Budget Specialists – why do they have SSNs in their files?  For what purpose?  Since this was the previous administration, it would involve looking not only at one remaining budget specialist, but the other budget specialist, the political appointees – Laura Williams (currently working as Chairman Flute’s political appointee) and Viva DuBois, and the previous Vice-Chairman Garryl Rousseau.
  • IT Department – Why didn’t they have the Vice-Chair’s office set up and ready to go when they took office? Why did it take an entire week to accomplish?  The Information Technology department currently reports to Chairman Flute, although, up until December 2016, they reported to previous Vice-Chairman Garryl Rousseau.


  1. Has anyone considered under whose ultimate authority the process of all paperwork and orientation of executives council reps and political appointees falls under?? VC blamed as his responsibility and should have known as was prior adm bldg program manager. Well then to see clear point of whom this should really fall upon then what happens say if an entire brand new council is elected with not one of them being a previous tribal employee or program manager?? Whose responsibility is it then to direct them in proper process n paperwork?? Look at the actual facts and process objectively and impartially before forming a conclusion

    • You put a public document on a private computer or in the newspaper. doesn’t change the fact that my budget is a public document..Regardless of orientation, policies .My duties are stated in the constitution.. and made up flashdrive policies can’t hinder or stop me from carrying out my duties per the constitution. can u say corrupt witch hunt? smh

  2. I heard too that at DCA Chairman flute stated he had IT wipe previous councils computers and why they didn’t have any because IT had them or ordering new ones. Shouldn’t have to wipe them if they go to next council rep as all business prior to during current and after current council is business of the tribe. Even council reps email addresses have changed from previous reps email addresses. All that should have been needed is change login name and password

  3. Everyone I talk to supports our vice chairman because they feel as I do he is a person of integrity. But then when you are a person of integrity people condemn you and find a way to get rid of you.
    Nice work!

  4. Very informational and factual. Unfortunately, it probably won’t deter someone who has already made up their mind (called a hater these days) – don’t confuse them with the facts. The ones on DCA promoting removal and NOT investigation have their fingerprints on excess, self-serving spending. Transparency is a convenient buzzword until actually used. I’ve seen a few signed letters by the Vice Chairman citing policy but have yet to see one thing signed by the Chairman regarding the allegations and rumors made about the Vice Chairman. Apparently, the value of honesty doesn’t translate into common sense these days no matter what language is spoken

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