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Political turmoil continues for Penticton Indian Band council

Penticton Indian Band Chief Chad Eneas (right) watches as Penticton Nissan Manager Scott Barber, Penticton Indian Band Councillor Elliott Tonasket, former band Chief Jonathan Kruger, Nissan owner John Kot and Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit participate in ground breaking ceremonies at the site of the new Penticton Nissan facilty on Aug.25.2017. Dissent continues amongst some band members over the current state of band politics.
September 21, 2017 - 7:30 PM

PENTICTON - Former Penticton Indian Band Councillor Dolly Kruger continues to express concerns about a lack of confidence in the present band chief and administration.

Kruger said a number of band members also voiced concerns last month following the resignations of three senior managers and three councillors.

Kruger said Tuesday, Sept.19, at least 64 band members have expressed concerns about the band's chief and council. She says there are more dissenters but many have jobs within the administration and don’t want to jeopardize their positions by speaking out.

Kruger says the senior electoral officer announced at a meeting on Aug. 30 there was no quorum of council due to recent resignations of band councillors.

She said Chief Chad Eneas said he would obtain a legal opinion regarding the matter but has yet to deliver that opinion to the community.

“As of March, 2017, there have been letters from families, band members and band employees that were put forward to chief and council that remain unanswered and unresolved. Further to the frustration there have been three resignations of senior management and to date, five council members have resigned,” Kruger said in an email.

Former band Councillor Timmothy Lezard withdrew from council recently. He says three of eight councillors remain, along with Chief Eneas, but under the band’s custom election code, council can continue to operate.

Lezard says Eneas has demonstrated a lack of leadership since his election, noting none of the councillors have been given portfolios.

“When he runs meetings, he doesn’t run consistently, one day under Robert’s Rules, the next day he will appoint the chair and make the agenda. That’s not really listening,” he said.

“He’s a good guy, but some people just aren’t meant to lead. They could be my best friend, but that doesn’t mean they’ll run the reserve well,” he added.

Lezard says Chief Eneas believes business can be conducted as usual, but adds there will be challenges.

A nomination meeting slated for last night, Sept. 20, has been rescheduled for Oct. 11 for five new councillors.

Lezard says security for council meetings was beefed up recently due to the increasingly heated nature of the gatherings.

“They are starting to get out of hand. It’s the most heated I have seen it in 12 years,” Lezard said.

Several phone calls and an email to Chief Eneas went unanswered by deadline.

Councillor Clint George, one of the three remaining councillors, said he was not at liberty to speak about the band’s present administrative issues.

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