KIA moves to support bylawBoard, staff members cannot hold elected positions while employed by KIA
Northern News Services
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Four Kivalliq municipal hamlet councils had to replace members after the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) moved to enforce one of its bylaws this past month.
The hamlet councils of Baker Lake, Coral Harbour, Naujaat and Rankin Inlet were all impacted when the KIA reminded members they could not sit on hamlet council and maintain their KIA position at the same time.
KIA president David Ningeongan said the KIA's bylaws were amended in 2014. He said for some reason that bylaw was not being properly enforced or followed.
"Whether our board members and staff didn't communicate effectively with KIA administration at the time they decided to run for municipal council, or whatever happened, it slipped through the cracks for awhile," said Ningeongan.
When Gabe Karlik returned to the KIA in January after being out of office for around seven months, he brought up the issue to Ningeongan.
"It took him about three months to find it and, when he did, we found the bylaws were, in fact, changed in 2014, so we had to move to correct the situation and ensure our bylaws are being followed," said Ningeongan.
"We don't stop our staff or board members from running in elections, but, if they do wish to run for municipal or territorial political positions, they have to resign their KIA position."
Ningeongan said the KIA had no choice but to support the bylaw. He said staff and board members who had been elected to political positions were informed that they had to choose between that and their KIA position.
"We gave them six weeks notice, I believe it was, to make their decision and every one of them decided to resign from the hamlet council and remain with the KIA," he said.
He described the situation as a "miscommunication" between staff, board members and the administration at KIA.
"There was a handful of people in the community who thought I was the culprit in this, but we have bylaws to protect the interests of the KIA and the beneficiaries of the region," he said.
The KIA takes part in a number of sensitive hearings and discussions. Ningeongan said the KIA needs its board members
to be committed to the association and community interests and not be worrying about the wants or needs of other organizations.
He said if you look at something like the final hearing for the Whale Tail gold project in Baker Lake, for example, he just can't have a board member who's also a municipal councillor.
"You can't help but wonder if they're really representing the hamlet council, the KIA, or the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization, for that matter," said Ningeongan.
"We have to deal with points like this because when we're attending hearings on mineral development, or others, we have to know the KIA's interests are looked after before anyone else, because it's about putting the best interests of the beneficiaries first and being transparent in your dealings.
"The original Meadowbank Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement (IIBA), for example, was not a public document, but now all our IIBAs are going to be public, so, as soon as our recent Whale Tail agreement is translated, it will be a public document.
"We're trying to get transparent, ensure our royalty funds are managed properly so that new programs can be started in the communities and that we've invested properly to look after future generations."
Ningeongan said any beneficiary who wants to see KIAs IIBAs can contact senior management and ask for a copy.