Faculty member reviewing fiscal manual for American Indians

A Pennsylvania College of Technology faculty member – already an acknowledged advocate for American Indians in preparing for agricultural terrorism or an outbreak of avian influenza – is assisting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in evaluating an agency-sponsored financial-management publication for American Indians.

Because he is experienced in training representatives of several dozen tribes across the country for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Steven R. Parker, an assistant professor of environmental technology, was asked to ensure that the guidance manual is sensitive to American Indian culture. After the Office of Management and Budget reviewed annual tribal expenditures related to EPA grants, it required the environmental watchdog to sponsor a financial-management and expenditure-training project for tribes.

The EPA project is funded by the Office of Grants and Debarment and the Office of Small Business Programs, coordinated with the American Indian Environmental Office. The Partnership for Environmental Technology Education is the EPA’s prime contractor writing the Tribal Administration and Financial Guidance Manual under review by Parker.

To kick off the project, the EPA invited tribal dignitaries, government officials and interested parties to a ceremonial signing at its Washington, D.C., headquarters. On the morning of July 16, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson gave a short speech about the importance of the project before signing the contract for "Tribal Grants Management and Technical Assistance."

Parker, who attended the signing ceremony as one of those invited guests, since has learned that the focus might be expanded to additional departments.

"In a (Nov. 4) teleconference, the executive director of PETE said the White House received an update from EPA," he said. "There is a lot of talk and excitement about expanding the project and manual to training tribes on management of financial assistance from many other federal agencies, such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Education."

Parker, certified as a Master Trainer both in fighting agroterrorism and avian flu, also has been told he might be invited to Washington, D.C., to instruct representatives from all 10 regional EPA offices, in addition to other federal employees as part of the Obama administration’s transition process.

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Last Updated March 19, 2009