Board Meeting, Roger Smith To Step Down
By E. Bowers
HOLLYWOOD - Brighton Board representative Roger Smith announced at the April 9 Board meeting that he will not seek re-election after his two-year term ends this year. Although Smith did not give a reason for his decision, he noted with satisfaction what the Board had accomplished during his term.
"We did a lot," said Smith. "We stuck together and that's what it takes."
The Board was also updated on the canker situation in the Board citrus groves. According to Charlie Ward, manager of the Board citrus groves, canker can be spread through the air or off vehicles entering the groves.
Chairman James Billie noted that because of this situation, and others, security will become tighter on the Big Cypress reservation. Anyone, including Tribal members, will not be allowed to enter the groves, or any other Tribal business, without clearance.
The Board also ratified the Drug Free Workplace Policy and agreed to extend the deadline for the Cattle Raisers' Agreement.
The subject of cattle brought up a point of contention with Billie. Pushing for the elimination of grazing, bull, and heifer fees, Chairman Billie remarked, "I paid my cattle off three years ago to the Bank of Clewiston, but I have never made a cent.
"Our own cattle program is raping its own people," said Billie, "We should eliminate the grazing fee and only pay on the cows that produce a calf."
President Mitchell Cypress agreed to re-visit the issue while going over the Cattle Raisers' Agreement. "The grazing fee is really eating the cattle owner up," said President Cypress.