NEZ PERCE TRIBAL
PURPOSE: To assist in the resolution of complaints by NPTHA program applicants and tenants and to afford program applicants and tenants a fair and reasonable opportunity to have their responses heard and considered by NPTHA. It is not intended to provide a forum for the aggrieved party to challenge NPTHA's policies, tribal, federal or state codes, requirements and/or regulations, to settle domestic disputes, or to resolve matters which are more appropriately a police or court matter.
SCOPE: 1. Applies to all program applicants and rental and homebuyer tenants.
2. Grievances regarding actions for which a court hearing is necessary to carry out NPTHA action (such as eviction or termination of tenancy) are NOT subject to the Grievance Policy because the Nez Perce Tribal Court will afford claimants an opportunity to be heard on the merits of their particular case.
A. A complainant is any tenant whose complaint is presented to NPTHA staff, up to the Executive Director, on an informal basis.
B. A formal hearing is the process by which the Board of Commissioners hears an appeal by a complainant dissatisfied with the Executive Director's decision.
C. A grievance is any dispute which a tenant may have with respect to NPTHA action which adversely affects the individual tenant's rights, duties, welfare, or status.
D. An informal hearing is the process by which complaints are first considered by the appropriate NPTHA staff.
G. A tenant is a lessee or the remaining head of household of any tenant family residing in housing accommodations owned or leased by the NPTHA.
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1.02 Due Process
The NPTHA Grievance Policy shall comply with the Indian Civil Rights Act, if applicable, and shall assure that applicants/residents in all programs/developments will
● be advised of the specific grounds of any proposed adverse action by NPTHA;
● have an opportunity for an informal hearing and afterwards, if warranted, a hearing before the Board of Commissioners upon timely request as outlined in these policies and procedures;
● have an opportunity to examine any documents or records or regulations related to the proposed action;
● be entitled to be represented by another person of their choice at any hearing;
● be entitled to ask questions of witnesses and have others make statements on their behalf; and
● be entitled to receive a written decision by NPTHA on the proposed action.
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1.03 Filing Complaints
A. Complaints pertaining to neighbors who are NPTHA residents must be made in writing utilizing the NPTHA Complaint form. Assistance in writing the complaint will be made available to the resident at the resident's request.
B. All complaints pertaining to NPTHA action are to be presented first on an informal basis, either orally or in writing, to the appropriate NPTHA staff. If the complaint remains unresolved, the complainant must request an informal hearing with the Executive Director.
C. Regardless of the nature of the complaint, all payments due NPTHA are to be paid as agreed upon per the lease agreement or any promissory note or other repayment plan in the amount equal to the amount paid in the month preceding the complaint plus any fees.
D. Complainants dissatisfied by the Executive Director's decision may request a hearing before the Board of Commissioners in accordance with the procedures contained herein.
E. The Executive Director must implement procedures which will ensure that complaints and NPTHA response to complaints are documented.
1.04 Informal Hearing
A. The complaint must be made to the appropriate staff within 15 working days of the act which is the basis of the grievance. If the complaint pertains to the actions of another tenant, the complaint must be in writing, utilizing the complaint form (Exhibit 1.1). The appropriate staff will assign a Counselor to assist in the preparation of complaints upon request of the tenant.
B. Complainants dissatisfied with the appropriate staff’s decision may request an informal hearing with the Executive Director within 10 working days of the appropriate staff’s decision.
C. The Executive Director will schedule a meeting with the complainant as soon as it is possible, time and place reasonably convenient to the complainant, and will notify the complainant in writing.
D. If the complainant fails to show up for the scheduled meeting without notification, the right to a hearing through NPTHA Grievance Policies will be waived, and the complainant shall be so notified in writing. However, this does not constitute a waiver of the complainant's right to contest NPTHA's decision through legal proceedings in the Tribal Court.
E. The Executive Director will attempt to consider all the facts associated with the complaint in order to discuss and, hopefully, resolve the complaint without the necessity of a formal hearing.
F. A written summary of the discussion and the Executive Director's decision will be sent to the complainant within 15 working days of the date of the informal hearing. The summary will include names of participants, date of the meeting, nature of the complaint, the Executive Director's decision and the basis of the decision, and the procedures by which a formal hearing can be obtained.
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1.05 Request for a Formal Hearing
A. In the event the complainant does not receive a response to their grievance or feels that their grievance has not been resolved appropriately, he/she may submit within 15 working days of the date of the Executive Director's decision (date of correspondence) a written request to the Executive Director to be placed on the next regular meeting agenda to have the complaint heard by the Board of Commissioners.
B. The complainant's written request shall be considered a notice of appeal, and it must specify the following information:
1. The reason for the grievance;
2. The action or relief sought; and
3. Action(s) taken by NPTHA to resolve the complaint that were allegedly incorrect.
C. If the complainant's request for a formal hearing is not in accordance with Item 1.05 A and B, the Executive Director or designee will attempt to assist the complainant with the proper procedures.
D. The Executive Director will send written confirmation of the date, time and place of the Board of Commissioners meeting in which the grievance will be heard.
E. The Executive Director will notify the Board of Commissioners of the request and provide copies of materials relevant to the appeal.
F. If the complainant fails to appear at the formal hearing, then NPTHA's disposition of the grievance under the informal hearing process shall become final. However, this does not constitute a waiver of the complainant's right to contest NPTHA's decision through legal proceedings in the Nez Perce Tribal Court.
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1.06 Procedures Governing the Formal Hearing
A. The formal hearing shall be held before the Board of Commissioners, who will act as the hearing panel.
B. The Chairman of the Board of Commissioners will preside over the hearing and ensure that rules of procedure are followed.
C. Review by the Board will consist of a review of all the facts presented and the procedures of NPTHA to ensure the protection of tenant rights.
D. The complainant shall be afforded a fair hearing providing the basic safeguards of due process which shall include
1. The opportunity to examine before the hearing all documents relevant to the hearing;
2. The right to be represented by counsel or other person chosen as his/her representative;
3. The right to present evidence and arguments in support of his/her complaint, to refute evidence relied on by NPTHA, and to confront and cross-examine all witnesses; and
4. A decision based solely and exclusively upon the facts presented at the hearing.
E. The Board of Commissioners may render a decision without proceeding with the formal hearing if the Board determines that the issue has been previously decided in another proceeding or if the complaint pertains to issues not within the control of NPTHA (i.e., regulations, statutes, etc.).
F. If the complainant fails to show up for the scheduled meeting without notification, the tenant's right to a hearing through NPTHA Grievance Policies will be waived, and the complainant shall be so notified in writing. However, this does not constitute a waiver of the complainant's right to contest NPTHA's decision through legal proceedings in the Nez Perce Tribal Court. The Executive Director will prepare a letter for the Chairman's signature accordingly.
G. At the hearing, the complainant must state the complaint and make a showing of an entitlement to the relief sought.
H. NPTHA must demonstrate that NPTHA action is justified and is in accordance with NPTHA procedures.
I. The hearing shall be conducted informally by the Chairman of Board and oral or documentary evidence pertinent to the facts and issues raised by the complaint may be received without regard to admissibility under the rules of evidence applicable to judicial proceedings.
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1.07 Decision of the Board of Commissionerss
A. After consideration of all the facts, the Board of Commissioners will render a decision within 30 calendar days of the date of the formal hearing.
B. The Executive Director will prepare a letter for the Chairman's signature, communicating the decision of the Board to the complainant and to NPTHA staff.
C. Depending on the nature and extent of the complaint, the written decision may include a statement of findings and conclusions, the basis for the decision, etc.
D. NPTHA shall retain a copy of the decision in the tenant's folder along with all relevant information.
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A. The NPTHA Grievance Policies and Procedures and any decisions made by NPTHA and/or the Board of Commissioners shall not constitute a waiver of, nor affect in any manner whatever, any rights the complainant may have to a trial de novo or judicial review in any Tribal judicial proceedings, which may thereafter be brought in the matter.
B. Use of the NPTHA Grievance Policies and Procedures does not prohibit NPTHA from commencing legal eviction proceedings and/or from taking action at any time to protect its legal rights and interests.