TWIN BUTTES Members of a Twin Buttes group continue their efforts to remove the Twin Buttes representative to the Three Affiliated Tribes' business council.
The group of enrolled members of the Three Affiliated Tribes delivered a petition April 30 to tribal attorney Damon Williams requesting the removal of Barry Benson as the Twin Buttes council representative. Fifty-three people signed the petition.
Diana Tomlin, a spokeswoman for the Twin Buttes group, said she and other representatives of the petitioners met with the business council in a closed meeting June 14. Tomlin said Tex Hall, tribal chairman, approved the group's request to have a closed meeting. During the meeting she said they discussed the petition and their charges, and Benson responded to the charges. She said the council did not take any action on the petition and the group's requests.
The reasons listed on the petition for Benson's removal include that he has failed to represent the best interests of the Twin Buttes community and the entire membership of the Three Affiliated Tribes; does not reside in the Twin Buttes community as required by the tribal constitution; does not attend or participate in community functions in the Twin Buttes community; and "spends excessive amounts of tribal funds on certain people and things that have nothing to do with tribal government nor the Twin Buttes community."
At the June 14 meeting, Tomlin said she explained to the business council that since an Ethics Committee does not exist they filed the petition with the tribe.
"The committee should have been formed some time after September 2008. They still haven't hired a full committee," Tomlin said.
Prior to meeting with the business council, Tomlin said the Twin Buttes petition representatives met with the tribal chief financial officer about getting their drawdown of $30,000 for the Twin Buttes Elders Organization and were told they had already spent $91,430 and only had $33,000 left.
"This was brought to the attention of the council and Tex asked Barry if he would give us the remaining $33,000 to which Barry responded that he would not until he saw what we did next. At that I asked the council to let us know when they had an Ethics Committe in place so we could file our petition with them," Tomlin said.
Tomlin said the funds go directly to the Twin Buttes elders for eyeglasses, hearing aids, dental work, wheelchair ramps and help with mileage costs to and from medical appointments. She said Indian Health Service doesn't pay for these items. IHS is the federal health program that provides healthcare to Native Americans and Alaskan Natives.
Tomlin said the group now is waiting for the Ethics Committee to be formed.
Benson could not be reached Monday for comment.