COVID-19 changed the shape of the Association of Village Council Presidents’ annual convention. For one thing, there were no resolutions this year because none were forwarded by tribes for the virtual convention.
Normally, delegates at the Association of Village Council Presidents’ annual convention meet in person and develop resolutions to forward to the Alaska Federation of Natives. To keep members safe in the midst of the pandemic, the group met virtually this year. It had a hard time getting a quorum, and the board received no resolutions.
There was some good news at the convention. A recording of the meeting shows that OBD, the firm performing AVCP’s audits, announced that years of work improving bookkeeping processes has turned the organization around. In the past, auditors said that they had found many problems. This year’s review of the $71.6 million budget showed “significant improvement, with only one problem area,” which the auditors assured delegates was being addressed.
The pandemic has also reduced expenses. Jack Crow, Chief Administrative Officer on AVCP’s Management Team, said that with travel all but eliminated, he expects to save about $3 million in travel costs by the end of this fiscal year. In all, AVCP is about $9 million behind in budgeted spending. Normally that unspent money would have to go back to the federal treasury. Congress changed the rules because of the pandemic this year, allowing organizations like AVCP to move unspent funds into the next fiscal year.
Most of AVCP’s money is from the federal government, about $43 million last year. Much of this comes through tribal compacting, where individual tribes agree to let AVCP handle their federal allocations and use some of it to provide various services. Some is also forwarded to tribes in a tribal allocation. During the meeting, concern was raised by a representative of Napaimute, who asked for more transparency on how the allocations for different tribes are created. The recording showed no sign that this issue was addressed at the convention.