EDS: Interior needs year on new agency
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A consulting firm Secretary of Interior Gale Norton hired to assess trust management is recommending the government be given up to a year to establish its new Bureau of Indian Trust Asset Management.

According to EDS Corporation, whom Norton hired over the summer, the Interior should take "the next year" to design the new agency. EDS says the Interior needs time to: 1) consult with tribes and Indian Country; 2) design the new structure and 3) undergo a transition period.

The delay is likely to raise doubts by the federal judge overseeing trust reform. At a status hearing last month, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth said he has been displeased with the repeated delays the government has sought.

EDS was paid nearly $3 million to evaluate trust reform. The corporation has provided three reports to the Interior, one which recommended Norton appoint an "executive sponsor" to oversee management of both tribal and individual trusts.

In a letter to Deputy Secretary J. Steven Griles, who has told Lamberth he is in charge, EDS says the new Assistant Secretary for Indian Trust Assets Management conforms with the recommendation for a "single, accountable trust reform sponsor."

Beyond the one year date EDS suggests, the Interior itself has offered no time frame for this new and "dramatic" undertaking. A statement Norton provided to the press only says the Bush administration is "committed to taking action now that will chart a new course for positive, productive trust reform that will work to benefit American Indian tribes."

Graphic: New Indian Agency: Draft Organizational Chart

Today on Indianz.Com:
Developing: BIA stripped of trust duties (11/15)
Objections voiced over trust fund choice (11/15)
Norton challenges contempt charges (11/15)

Relevant Links:
Office of the Special Trustee -
Trust Management Improvement Project -
Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton -

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