Council Removes Vice-Chair White

in SWO Politics by

After about 3 hours of “deliberation” on Monday, April 3, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Council voted to Remove Vice-Chairman Donovan White. All that was needed was 5 votes to overturn the election results on at least one of the nine charges.  The Removal Hearing was scheduled to start at 10:00 am in Tribal Council Chambers.  There were a number of supporters present at the SWO Administration Building in support of the Vice-Chair, but predictably, Council chose to close it to the public.  The presenting arguments went on all day, then it took 3 hours for them to announce the results around 8pm.

Let’s think about how this all went down:

  • November 2016 Elections – 900 people voted Donovan White in as the Vice-Chairman, whose Constitutional duties include overseeing the Finances of the Tribe.  (SWO Constitution and Bylaws)
  • December-ish 2016 – the Lame Duck Council chooses to revise the Administrative Flow Chart, which lists all the Tribe’s departments and programs, effective immediately, but Chairman Flute elects to keep the new flowchart secret until February for unknown reasons.  The Information Technology (IT) Department along with other departments are moved from the Vice-Chairman’s (TVCO) authority to the TCO (Tribal Chairman’s Office)
  • January 2017 – a new term starts.  Newly elected Executives include Vice-Chair Donovan White and Secretary Crystal Heminger
    • Despite 2 months of lead time, the IT Department fails to have the Vice-Chair’s office equipped with computers.  Neither the Vice-Chairman or his two political appointees, Michael Roberts and Former Chairman Bruce Renville, have physical computers, log-ins, etc., so they are unable to do their jobs efficiently.
    • The old TVCO computers and email accounts are “wiped” by the IT Department. The accounts wiped belonged to previous Vice-Chairman Garryl Rousseau, Sr., and his political appointees, including Laura Williams, now Chairman Flute’s appointee. Note that destroying files – digital or paper – is a severe violation of common practice if you want a transparent government and a smooth transition of power.  Every two years, the Oyate should not have to start from zero.
    • As a work around, a jump drive is used by a TVCO appointee in an attempt to do his job.
      • IT Policy does not address jump drives.  Read more:  IT Breach or IT Failure
      • SWO Budgets are not confidential. They are presented and reviewed during open Council sessions, and reviewed and distributed at General Council meetings.
    • The politicking starts
  • March 2017
    • The Vice-Chairman and political appointees are suspended by Council pending a Removal Hearing on 7 weak-ass charges.
    • Days later, Council serves an additional 2 charges against Vice-Chairman White, including #9, which is glaringly wrong.  I mean, my goodness – nobody on Council can read?
    • Council refuses to release charges or proof to the People.  The only outlet to provide this information was HOTOKECA DIGITAL NEWS – a Different Voice serving the SWO. Read the charges and analysis here: Official Charges
  • April
    • The Vice-Chair releases response to charges and files an injunction.  TVCO Response to Charges
    • The Vice-Chair is not granted the injunction by Judge BJ Jones.  (Note that Judge Jones is hired and paid by Council.)
    • The Vice-Chair is removed in a tie-vote.  There were a number of supporters present for the hearing, but predictably, Council chose to keep to their theme of secrecy and conduct the hearing and the vote behind closed doors away from the public.

The Removal vote resulted in a tie with Justin Chanku (Long Hollow), Francis Crawford (Lake Traverse), Eddie Johnson Jr. (Old Agency), and Alvah Quinn Jr. (Big Coulee) voting to Remove. Secretary Crystal Heminger, Winfield Rondell Jr. (Veblen/Heipa), Arnold White (Buffalo Lake), and Lois Owens (Enemy Swim) voted NO to the Removal. Since it was a tie, Chairman Flute cast the deciding vote for Removal.

So there you have it – Council has shown its true colors by Removing the Vice-Chairman in such a secretive manner.  The Charges were outright lies in the case of charges 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and #9, and no proof was provided for any of the charges.  The Council members that voted NO are to be commended, yet none of them spoke out against Removal or to the Public or even provided the charges and proof, which questions their ethics and competency as well.

This was all expected. What was surprising (and frankly a little alarming) was how quickly they jumped on the task, and how arrogantly disrespectful they were in terms of obstructing the Vice-Chairman’s Office, and disregarding the Election Process, the Constitution, and the People. Removing an elected Executive should be serious business based on proven and serious misdeeds.  Each of the 10 members of Council are public servants (I don’t subscribe to the Legal Department’s “ULTIMATE AUTHORITY” hogwash – nobody should), each Council member should take their duties more seriously.

Oh well, I guess, SPECIAL ELECTION coming soon!  Hundreds of thousands of dollars to be spent on that instead of providing housing, jobs and assistance to the People who need it.  Pidamaya ye to Akicita Donovan White for your service, for putting together an excellent team, and for always standing up for the People.


IMAGE CREDIT:  (Downloaded 5 April 2017 at 3:30 am).

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