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Non-confidence vote ousts Jean Marie River chief
Band council to decide how to deal with vacancies

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, February 17, 2011

TTHEK'EHDELI/JEAN MARIE RIVER - Isadore Simon has been removed as the chief of Jean Marie River First Nation following a vote of non-confidence by the band council.

The council voted unanimously on Feb. 2 to end Simon's leadership. Simon has been chief since August 2008 when he was acclaimed to the position.

The council has appointed one of their members, Stan Sanguez, to serve as the acting chief. Simon was removed because he wasn't following the rules on how the chief should be working that were set out at the band's annual general meeting, Sanguez said.

"We had no option but to do a non-confidence vote," he said.

In addition to being short a chief, the council is also short members. There are normally six members but the council is now down to three due to Sanguez taking the role of acting-chief and Douglas Norwegian Jr. recently resigning in order to focus on his business.

Sanguez has presented council with two options on how to proceed. An acting chief could hold the position until the election, which is scheduled for this fall, and the council could appoint three more councillors from among interested band members.

The second option is to call a general band members meeting and vote on having an early election. Approximately 22 people would have to attend to achieve quorum, Sanguez said.

Sanguez is waiting on a response from the remaining councillors on how to proceed. No matter the decision, Sanguez said he wants to make sure the band's policies are followed.

"That's how First Nations get themselves in trouble," Sanguez said.

"I'm just being careful."

Isadore Simon couldn't be reached for comment by press time.

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