ADOT Hopes Change In Tribal Contracts Will Improve Efficiency

By Claire Caulfield
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 9:11am

For decades, a single line in ADOT contracts stalled or ended projects between the transportation department and Arizona tribes: waiver of limited sovereign immunity.

This single sentence, which was common in the majority of state agency contracts, required tribes to take any possible mediation on a project to the state court instead of using the tribe’s court.

Ryan Harding, a press officer with ADOT, said the agency is in the process of removing that language from contracts with all of Arizona's tribes. 

“We looked at that and just saw that that language was getting in the way of some of these essential agreements that we wanted to have with the tribes," Harding said. "And it turned out that we could get rid of it and still pose a very minimal risk to ADOT and to taxpayers.”

ADOT will decide how contracts handle possible mediation on a case-by-case basis instead of applying this boilerplate language, and Harding said some other Arizona agencies are considering similar changes.

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