Gloria Herne 3
Gloria Herne 3

Meet the Tribe - Gloria Herne, Assistant Executive Director

Jun 6, 2017

29 Years of Service

(The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe is proud to highlight Gloria Herne as this month’s long-term service employee and share all the exceptional work she is doing on behalf of the Akwesasne community.)

Gloria Herne’s tenure with the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe began in May 1988, when she was hired through the summer student program as a part-time receptionist within the Accounting Department at $3.35 per hour for her starting wage. Since that time, Gloria has served the community through various positions within the Tribe; Payroll Clerk, Bookkeeper, Health Cost Analyst, Budget Analyst, and her current position within the Office of the Executive Director.

Reflecting back on her previous positions and the knowledge she has gained, Gloria shared “Each supervisor I worked with and each position I held throughout the years gave me the experience, knowledge and confidence needed to serve as Assistant Executive Director within our Tribal Government.”

In the early days, Gloria recalls everything had to be done manually; from the writing of checks out of thirty-five different program checkbooks to manually calculating each employee’s payroll tax and benefits. She jovially recalls each tribal program having a separate payroll sheet and the work it entailed compared to the sophisticated software used today.

Within her current role as Assistant Executive Director, she has participated in many efforts to help hold the Federal Government accountable to their Federal Trust Responsibilities; one of the most significant as well as most misunderstood concepts in Federal-Indian relations.

Gloria worked diligently with the internal team to ensure our Tribe received its fair share under the Ramah Settlement for the underpayment of Indirect Cost and Contract Support Cost. This government settlement amounted to $1,091,903.71 to the Tribe from the BIA. Another settlement attained under this same responsibility was with Indian Health Services for $428,094.94. These funds have been earmarked for a much-needed future expansion of the Tribal Clinic.

“Federal and State funds are important sources of revenue to provide the essential services our community relies upon,” noted Gloria.

Gloria likes to step outside the box and get the community what is needed, while keeping in mind that we still need to abide by the rules. In another related issue, Gloria worked together with the Tribe’s Consultant to inform Indian Health Services they had been calculating the Indirect Cost “Contracted Health, Preferred Care Services” rates incorrectly; an estimated $376,775.00 miscalculation, plus an additional Tribal Shares Shortfall of $161,431.00 that amounted to a total increase of $538,206.00 to be paid to the Tribe annually.

Helping people is the most rewarding part of Gloria’s job, as she enjoys finding ways to get help to community members in need, stating “Our team in the Executive Director’s Office take staff and community concerns very seriously and address them as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

When asked about her most memorable moment during the past three decades, Gloria recalls one Christmas when the Headstart children were invited to come over to the Lobby to meet Santa Claus (played by Jim McDuck). Each child received a gift and one little girl began to cry as she was given a doll. She said it was exactly what she wanted. That gift of sharing turned into a real morale booster for the staff to see the smiles the gifts brought to each child.

“It was then that I really believed we were starting to make great strides in helping community members during the holidays,” said Gloria, who has been a member of the Akwesasne Holiday Helpers Committee for the past two years and finds it extremely rewarding as she does not like to see anybody go without basic necessities.

In summarizing her time at the Tribe, Gloria was passionate in sharing, “The days here at the Tribe pass by very quickly; it doesn’t feel like I’ve been here almost 30 years. I appreciate every day I come to work; it’s truly been a pleasure to be able to work for, and serve the community that I love.”

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The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council is the duly elected and federally recognized government of the Saint Regis Mohawk People.