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Arguments over two different interpretations of the Tribal Constitution forced the Tribal Council to recess the regular full board meeting early.

On Monday, May 22, 2023, Tribal Chairman Floyd Azure refused to recognize a motion to move Human Resources under Tribal Operations Manager Megan Gourneau. 

The motion is unconstitutional, he said, because it violates the Tribes constitution under ‘duties of the chairman.’ 

If a motion is in violation of any federal, state, local, or tribal law it cannot be brought to the floor. 

Tribal Executive Board members argued the motion was good because it was restructuring the Human Resources office by taking the politics out of hiring. 

Tribal Councilwoman Carolyn Brugh said she spoke with many different tribal employees and prospective job seekers who were afraid of a conflict of interest because former HR Director Jackie Azure shared the same last name as the Chairman.

Years ago, HR was under control of Tribal Secretary Accountant and Operations Manager Jackie Weeks and it worked out fine so they know they can get it done, Brugh said.

Tribal Councilman Bryce Kirk said he has faith in Gourneau being able to handle the job but she needs to be compensated. 

Chairman Azure said the establishment of an HR Department was a requirement to get some federal government 638 contracts. 

Again, he told them the motion was unconstitutional and he could not bring it to the floor. 

Regarding politics, Azure said he never showed his relatives special treatment, and he has actually fired relatives, something he said the TEB never did before.

Speaking for the motion, councilman Terry Rattling Thunder said the HR office is not in the best shape right now and this would help greatly. 

Last week, HR Director Jackie Azure quit her job and was reassigned to the Indian Reservation Roads book keeping position. This was during some kind of trouble in Central Finance that resulted in one person losing their job and another being suspended two weeks without pay.

Councilwoman Patt Iron Cloud said this is to take the Chairman off the hook, and if this is not put to a vote the TEB reserves the right to replace Azure with Vice Chairman Charles Headdress or anyone else. 

Tribal Councilwoman Patt Iron Cloud called for a point of order to tell the Tribal Council the motion needs to be passed before the end of the meeting.

In House Attorney Cher Stewart said the Chairman was right in this issue. The Tribal Constitution states the Chairman haws supervisory authority, and she suggested the council further research this and revisit it later.

Chairman Azure said he won’t allow another to be appointed. 

Iron Cloud called for a point of order, seconded by councilwoman Shannon Martell. If the Vice Chairman won’t fill in for Azure, then the Secretary Accountant will sit in his place.

After calling a short recess for lunch, the council returned. Iron Cloud said she wanted to put the motion on the floor for a vote.

Chairman Azure said this has never been done (putting an illegal motion to vote by the TEB) and only the Chairman can put it to the floor. 

Iron Cloud said the Chairman has no input or say in the motion, so she wanted to have someone else appointed to oversee the vote.

Robert’s Rules of Order states the Chairman is the only one that has authority to do so, and if they wanted to do this they would have to make a motion for censure of the Chairman and appoint an acting. That’s what would solve this problem. State the motion for censure. 

Iron Cloud told the other council members the motion is from the TEB and they are the decision makers. 

The motion is not aimed at the Chairman in particular. This is “restructuring” a program, something done before on many occasions. There was a time when all police and corrections were put under one Public Safety Director. When it didn’t work out the council restructured the program again, Rattling Thunder said. 

It’s a good motion as written, and it should be voted on, he said. 

Iron Cloud said if this is not passed, the TEB is useless. They might as well not come into work or attend a meeting because it will be up to the Chairman to decide which motions the council can vote on, she said. 

Calls to table the measure and come back later after more research has been done on the matter were made in a couple of motions. However these died after nobody seconded the motion.

Chairman Azure recessed the meeting until the following day.

The TEB have a few motions to vote on before they are finished. 

This meeting continues tomorrow morning.

About Post Author

Louis H. Montclair

A journalist on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Owner of tribaltimesnews.com
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By Louis H. Montclair

A journalist on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Owner of tribaltimesnews.com

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