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New Seneca Gaming Corp. chairmanimplements reform agenda

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SALAMANCA, N.Y. – Cochise Redeye, the recently elected Seneca Gaming Corporation chairman of the board of directors, announced initial portions of his reform agenda at a board meeting held March 27, with the unanimous support of fellow board members Jeffrey L. Gill, vice chairman; Maurice A. John Sr., treasurer; Maribel W. Printup, secretary; Gloria J. Heron, director and Kevin W. Seneca, director.

Redeye also used the meeting to announce several other corporate initiatives aimed at promoting career development for Senecas and other Native Americans employed by the corporation, and recognizing the contributions of individuals who are a key to the corporation’s success.

Topping the board’s agenda were a series of actions to reaffirm its commitment to the highest ethical standards and corporate governance principles, including a reaffirmation of the proper role and function of the board of directors and standards of accountability. The board further acted to increase transparency and communication with members of the Seneca Nation by holding regular informational meetings for members, akin to traditional shareholders meetings.

Since he was voted into office March 13, Redeye has moved swiftly to implement the initial portion of a broad reform agenda addressing issues he observed prior to his election, and intended to benefit and strengthen the corporation in numerous ways, particularly with programs that will empower and support SGC employees.

In addition to his initial corporate governance initiatives, Redeye unveiled a set of programs to assist in the growth, development and advancement of Seneca Nation members employed by the corporation, as well as a recognition program for the friends and family of all Team Seneca members.

The Chairman Cares Club initiative will allow employees to submit a form nominating an individual who has gone above and beyond to assist a member of Team Seneca through a personal or professional challenge or crisis. A committee, led by Redeye, will select a nominee who will receive two front row seats to an entertainment act of their choice, along with dinner for two and an overnight stay at either Seneca Niagara or Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel. The winner will be greeted by a member of the board of directors and escorted through the property.

“It is critical to show appreciation to those friends and family members that help to make our team so successful. The Chairman Cares Club is our way of saying ‘thank you’ and expressing our sincerest gratitude for their support,” Redeye said.

The Chairman Cares Club initiative will also reach out to any team member who has recently lost a loved one or who has celebrated a birth of a child. The employee will receive a personalized card from the board of directors and a flower arrangement.

“The board of directors and I want to ensure that each and every team member knows that we are here to provide support when needed as well as ‘congratulations’ during times of celebration. We are all in this together and it is imperative that SGC leadership supports Team Seneca, not only professionally, but personally as well,” Redeye said.

Additions to the existing Career Development Program, or CDP, were also announced. The corporation’s ongoing CDP provides training and development for Seneca employees by improving leadership and management skills, as well as providing coaching and mentoring to participants who demonstrate high potential for success and advancement.

A new Business Management Program, a part of CDP, was announced which is aimed at advancing SGC’s mission and vision and adding value to the corporation’s bottom line was also announced. Over the next nine months, the chairman and board of directors, along with members of the executive team, will engage with 12 Native American managers on large projects. The projects represent actual business opportunities that integrate with corporate strategies. Three teams of four will be tasked to identify an initiative or project, articulate a return on investment and build a business plan for presentation to senior management. Upon approval, each team will manage the project to fruition, with continued support from sponsors, facilitators and peers. The goal for each team will be to either generate $500,000 in additional revenue or save $500,000 in expenses, allowing participants to gain valuable experience through practical application.

Redeye further announced the early stages of another CDP initiative, the Leadership Development Program, to be spearheaded by Printup and Heron, who will train Seneca employees to advance to senior level management positions.

The participants can choose to become proficient in one of six core areas of the business: finance, food and beverage, sales and marketing, hotel room administration and gaming. An extensive training program will prepare and train Seneca employees and provide them with the tools to manage the corporation at the senior level.

“Chairman Redeye has provided us with the necessary tools and empowered not only the Human Resources Department, but the corporation as a whole, to make a difference and create significant and practical results for our fellow team members,” said Sheila O’Keefe, SGC’s vice president of human resources. “Team Seneca will begin to immediately feel the positive effects of the chairman’s new agenda.”

Redeye has also called for amendments to the Employee Dispute Resolution Policy and the Employee Review Board, with an eye toward ensuring that salaried as well as hourly employees are able to utilize both grievance processes.

Redeye concluded by highlighting that the programs and resolutions unveiled represent only the initial phase of his reform agenda, adding: “My fellow board members and I look forward to working with the president of the Seneca Nation and the tribal councilors to ensure that Seneca Gaming Corporation remains strong, continues to move forward and is able to meet the challenges presented by these difficult economic times. The initiatives announced today are a step in the right direction, and there will be more to come.”