The Acho Dene Koe First Nation in Fort Liard has been told it can swear in six new councillors while a one-man committee continues to review two appeals regarding the election for chief.
After an appeal hearing on June 12, the committee – lawyer Garth Wallbridge – ordered that band councillors elected on April 26 “be sworn into office at the very earliest opportunity.”
Chief electoral officer Mary Beckett said in May the swearing-in of both chief and council would be delayed to allow all appeals to first conclude. On Tuesday, Beckett told Cabin Radio the swearing-in of councillors could now go ahead at the First Nation’s discretion.
“Council may take the oath of office and be sworn in as early as Tuesday, June 15, 2021, or as soon as a duly convened meeting can be scheduled of all council,” the First Nation said on Monday.
Wallbridge has suggested a “sub-chief” be elected or appointed while appeals regarding the outcome of the chief election continue, to “address the gap in governance that the First Nation was, and is to this day still, experiencing.”
Two appeals were filed, one from previous chief Floyd Bertrand and another from James Duntra, who was one of the contenders in the chief election.
No decision regarding those appeals has yet been made.
“The official results for the election for chief are expected to be announced the week of June 21, 2021,” the First Nation said this week.
Preliminary results had Chief Gene Hope retaining his position by just three votes over nearest challenger Duntra.