Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Santa Ysabel Tribal Council Votes to Keep Chairman Accused of Mis-Spending

The Santa Ysabel Tribal Council, which owes the county about $1 million in missed payments stemming from a deal struck between the two governments to help pay for increased law enforcement, ambulances and problem gambling programs, voted 4-3 to KEEP Chairman Hernandez. He still faces a recall by the tribe.

Vice Chairwoman Brandie Taylor, who has had an ongoing feud with the chairman, said she was surprised by the outcome of the vote.

"Honestly, we were shocked at the four votes for him," she said in an email statement. "The four never gave their reasons and now the tribal members want to know how they could have voted for the best interest of the tribe by allowing him to stay in office."

In the petition for removal, the tribe's Legislature alleged that Hernandez misspent the $27,180, which the tribe had allocated last year as a payment for the Inter-Tribal Court. The petition did not say how the money was spent.

Hernandez said last month that the claim was false. He said he paid the court what the tribe could afford at the time, $5,000. The chairman said the tribe had failed to pass a budget for 10 months, which put the tribe's finances in disarray. Obviously his leadership skills need improving.

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