Richard Wood waits patiently as the Office of Membership Services staff prepares to take his photo for his new tribal identification card.

OMS Institutes New Enrollment System

By Richie Corrales
Au-Authm Action News

On March 4, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Office of Membership Services (OMS) went live with a new enrollment program, and all records have been transitioned. Under the new program, the Salt River Tribal ID cards will receive a facelift as well.

“After the new software went live the first week of March, the OMS staff and Information Technology [IT] staff were testing the software program by logging in the new enrollment applications and entering information into the system,” said OMS Administrator Barrie Ann Thomas. “We did come across some problems, and since IT was right there with us they were able to make the corrections.”

Enrollment has made several presentations about the new system in the Community at district meetings; the presentations include a video and discussion about the benefits of the new system.

After OMS finds that everything has successfully transferred over, they can start issuing ID cards again. The department still has access to the old TEAMS system in case they need to go back and verify ID numbers or photos of Community members.

In 2002, OMS, a division of the Community Development Department (CDD), purchased TEAMS software, a custom-built database to handle all of the details related to each Community member and their tribal enrollment. Because TEAMS was purchased from an outside vendor, when the Enrollment Division wanted to make changes, they ran into problems because they didn’t own the rights to the software. The company’s software technicians would have to change the code or Enrollment would have to purchase software updates, all of which was costing the tribe in time and money.

“We had this program that we could not make any changes to, but it was a good program and it lasted a while for us,” said Per-capita Specialist Michael Washington. “Eventually it became outdated. There was a need to connect departments together.” The Tribal government wanted to have one central database with all the Community member personal information to eliminate the need for people to go from one department to another to collect different bits of information.

Entity Management System
As a result, OMS has transitioned over to new software called the Entity Management System (EMS), which was created by the SRPMIC Information IT department. Thomas said there are two modules to EMS: Enrollment, and Reality and Leasing. The OMS staff sat down with the IT staff to discuss what they envisioned for the new program by creating a way for the enrollment process to be automated and every action recorded.

The CDD will have the central data and will feed it to other departments; for example, to the Finance Department if it’s information about landowners or information regarding per-capita, and to the court system information if they need a current address for a jury summons. The court also has a program similar to the OMS and Health and Human Services information to ensure that a person is an enrolled Community member.

“We also wanted to automate the ancestor charts (family history). The software is set up to follow the timelines set in our Membership Ordinance, but of course we also follow the membership criteria according to the SRPMIC Constitution,” said Thomas.

“We have sat in many meetings designing and redesigning the program. This was a long and exhausting process,” that has taken at least four years, she added.

More Accountability
According to Washington, “The old system was static and we had to do things manually; the new system is supposed to take care of that and everything will be easier and run smoother. It also allows for tighter security.”

Under the old system, anyone could make a change and there was no auditing method on why a person made a change. That has changed with the new system. Any changes to the data must go through a couple of levels for approval, so the responsibility doesn’t lie with one single person.

The other big improvement that staff is excited about is the ability to make changes to the system in-house through the IT department.

Washington said he was reliant on the old system and was comfortable with it. “I am afraid of change, but at the same time I am looking forward to it. There is more than one set of eyes on it, and no one can make changes on it.”

Thomas also understands that change is difficult, and if you’re used to doing one thing a certain way, the new way can be frustrating. “Otherwise I am looking forward to when all the little problems are worked out and the software is running at full capacity,” she said.

Ancestry Charts and Historical Information
Over the next couple of years, OMS plans to enter data of older Community members or those who have passed on, because they preceded the enrollment in any database and their records were not in the system. Once the backlog of information is entered and connected to the main program, staff can hit a button and it will take them back to the original allottee (first enrolled Community member in a family). The system will even calculate the blood quantum of a current applicant. OMS hopes to continue to conduct more research on ancestry charts and in-depth historical information, but this is dependent on funding.

“For the future, we will be capable of faster delivery on requests for ancestor charts (family history),” said Thomas. “Right now we still have to do the research by hand until the original allottee’s information is added into the new program.

Once it is done, we can automatically link up all family members.”

Who Will Accept the New ID Cards
The Department of Motor Vehicles will not accept the new SRPMIC tribal ID cards because they do not feature a physical description; however, the Social Security office will accept them because they have a photo of the individual.

Tribal ID Card Fees
Minors: $5
Adults 18-54: $10
Seniors 55+: Free


Interesting Facts About the New Enrollment System

1. The application was completely developed by the SRPMIC. No commercially available product existed with the unique features and functions required for SPRMIC land transactions. As a result, developing the application internally made the most sense. The application also includes automated workflow, role-based security, a high degree of auditing, and integration capabilities for other SRPMIC systems.

2. SRPMIC Cultural Resources helped design the look and feel of the system, including buttons, icons and graphics.

3. Enrollment files can be scanned. Enrollment files previously only available in paper form are now scanned and attached electronically to the member’s record as a source document.

4. The system has a built-in workflow for applications, from first entry to last action. There are automatic alerts for tasks that are behind schedule.

5. It works with other SRPMIC systems. EMS can communicate with nine current SRPMIC systems.

6. It has enhanced security. Role-based security allows and restricts access at an even greater level of detail.

7. It has accountability. All changes to enrollment data will be captured in an audit log, including each change made, the date, and who made it.

8. It will issue new tribal ID cards. The system can issue separate cards to minors (portrait format) and adults (horizontal format). As of March 14, Community members can request a new Tribal ID card.

9. It’s built with the future in mind. The application has been designed to support added features as the Community requires them.

Source: March 2011 IT Newsletter

Office of Membership Services

Barrie Thomas
(480) 362-7618

Debbie James
(480) 362-7614

Michael Washington

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