Tribe needs recovery plan in place

On June 3, the Manuel Heart administration closed the normal operations of the Ute Mountain Ute tribal finance department due an extreme emergency. This letter of concern explains the points an organization needs to think about in order to prepare its own emergency recovery plan so that, should an interruption occur, it is able to resume operations. To complete its plan, tribal council and key members will have to search for answers and fill in the blanks. It is important to recognize that there is no “cultural magic” plan that an organization can purchase that will provide all the answers or that will create a plan for them. Conceivably an organization could share its plan with another organization such as the tribal Public Safety for ideas on how to formulate a plan; however, some plans may include confidential information that should not be made available to those outside the organization.

Assign a crew to complete the various sections, take a copy home. Store it on your intranet. Give copies to key personnel, including the chairman, vice chairman, acting executive director/planning director, the tribal secretary or another appropriate board member. In creating an emergency plan, tribal council members and the key people should not become overwhelmed by the tasks ahead. The most important thing is to make some plans that can be implemented in the event of an interruption.

Whatever one chooses to call it — disaster planning, emergency preparedness, or business continuity (and experts note that there are differences) — the goals are ultimately the same: to get an organization back up and running in the event of an interruption. The problem causing the interruption could be the chairman, vice chairman, CEO, executive director or planning director being placed on emergency sick leave. Or it could be an electrical outage, main computer crash or the result of a terrorist activity. The goal is to have some contingency plans in the event of a problem. A disaster recovery plan exists to preserve the organization so that it can continue to offer its services.

Rich Lehi

Towaoc