Adams Lake Band chief removed from office

Band documents state community panel ousts Paul Michel.

Paul Michel has been removed from office by a community panel of the band.

According to documents posted on the website of the Adams Lake Band, Chief Paul Michel has been removed from his position.

The document states that on May 5, the band’s community panel received a petition submitted by Nelson Frederick Leon for the removal of Paul Fergus Michel.

The four-member community panel had 30 days from receiving the petition, which requires 10 signatures, to investigate and render a decision.

“…As a result of the investigation, the Adams Lake Indian Band Community Panel hereby removed Paul Fergus Michel as chief of the Adams Lake Indian Band effective June 4, 2017 for the breach of his ‘Oath of Office’ (five violations). The consensus of the Adams Lake Indian Band Community Panel is that Paul Fergus Michel’s penalty is for two terms and is effective immediately with the penalty commencing 2017.”

Paul Michel could not be reached for comment prior to the Market News’ deadline, nor could the petitioners.

Michel has been in office since December 2016.

Michel has stated previously his belief that the community panel is flawed.

In a statement that was posted on the band’s website in April, he wrote: “As discussed on the February 23, 2017 general band meeting, there was consensus that Adams Lake has a Customs Election Rules flaw that allows a Community Panel to disrupt our Adams Lake Band governance and that allows for potential abuses of power. For example, Adams Lake since my election on December 15, 2016 has been without a full quorum for about one-half the time due to our flawed system.”

The ongoing internal governance issue saw three council members removed from office in September 2016, reinstated while they appealed the removal process and then removed from office when their appeal was dismissed.

The three, Georgina Johnny, Brandy Jules and Ronnie Jules, appealed the dismissal. Michel filed an affidavit in support of the appeal, asking the three be reinstated again until their appeal is heard. They were reinstated as they await a Federal Court decision.

Currently, four councillors are listed on the band’s website – Norma Manuel, Greg Witzky, Brandy Jules and Ronnie Jules.

Band regulations require a byelection within 60 days of a vacancy, so it remains to be seen when a byelection for chief would proceed.