Koe wants out
Executive director of constitutional working group getting out of the game

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (May 09/97) - Selecting a new executive director will be among the items on the agenda at the next gathering of the constitutional working group.

"It's manageable," said working group co-chair Jim Antoine of Koe's request that the group find a new executive director.

"We'll come to a decision during the three-day meeting on how we're going to deal with it."

The group is scheduled to meet in Yellowknife May 13, 14 and 15.

Asked if rumors he was leaving are true, Koe replied. "It's not true. I'm still here," later adding that "no decision has been made."

But another member of the group said Koe indicated recently he wanted to be replaced.

"He had been trying for a number of months to extricate himself from the constitutional working group because of his other commitments," said Michael Miltenberger, who is also MLA for Thebacha.

Koe was appointed chairman of the Workers' Compensation Board, a part-time position, Nov. 27.

Summit chairman Gary Bohnet confirmed Koe recently left his position as acting executive director of the aboriginal summit, the group responsible for writing a companion agreement to the proposed constitution.

Government consultant Marina Devine has been filling his shoes since he resigned, but was reluctant to discuss the situation.

Koe has been criticized for the handling of public consultations on the constitution.

Steve Iveson, touted as a replacement for Koe, said the working group may have underestimated the demands of the job.

"The executive director is currently part-time and they're considering whether that's appropriate for the position," said Iveson.

Iveson has a long history of involvement in aboriginal issues. He is currently working as director of the self-government division of the territorial Department of Aboriginal Affairs.