Gwichya Gwich’in designated Gwich’in organization’s sitting President is distributing a petition around Tsiigehtchic calling for a special meeting of council to address a number of concerns of hers that have arisen over the summer.
Calling for a review of the council’s leadership accountability Gwichya Gwich’in President Julie-Ann Andre says she was suspended by council in July after being on sick leave for two months.
However, she says the DGO is suffering from a lack of accountability and is contravening its own bylaws.
“They asked to meet with me in September and at that time they somehow had 7 directors and not 5,” she told Inuvik Drum. “Having more than 5 directors is breaking the bylaw which states that there are to be 5 directors.
“Last election the directors were elected. Of those there are only two elected directors left. Since the election we had some resignations from being a director at which time the directors advertised and appointed directors.”
Noting she was on sick leave when the council voted to suspend her, Andre added the DGO had been without an executive director for over a year. She said an interim executive director had sat in from March to July and a suitable candidate was found, but the new director only stayed on the job for a week.
“They claimed that I abandoned my job when in fact I was on medical leave,” she said. “There’s no executive director and a part time weekend finance officer. The office has no full staff except for the secretary and acting president and no response to the call for special assembly by the people.”
Andre added she had put in the call for a special assembly in June, and then again in September but started the petition only after not receiving a response from the DGO.
“I met with the council on Sept. 7 and I requested one,” she said. “They suggested Sept. 21. Didn’t happen.
“On Nov. 18 I wrote a letter to them requesting a special assembly about leadership accountability and there’s no response, so I need to get answers.”
Andre added she’s already hand-delivered the petition to the office and five of the seven directors, but had not received a response by the suggested Dec. 3 date in the petition. She said if nothing changes, she would continue to collect signatures calling for the special meeting.
Inuvik Drum reached out to the Gwichya council for a response, but a spokesperson for the Gwichya Gwich’in DGO declined to comment for this story.