Ethics Committee seeks new members

The Ethics Committee is a commission that was established to ensure tribal officials are held to the highest standard of ethical conduct while serving the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. The commission is pursuant to the Ethics Code section 19-3-101, which provides fair, honest, and effective tribal government through review and recommendation to legislation, rules, and standards that promote ethical conduct by tribal officials. The commission is operated by Eddie Box Jr. (chairman), Philip Drake (acting director) and committee members, Pearl Casias and Barbara Rarick.

“After the past couple of months, we’ve had some cases come before us…when you get elected as a tribal official, you got to realize you’re living in a glass house,” stated Eddie Box Jr. “I was originally on the ethics committee a long time ago, and we’ve had rulings to release [tribal officials] from office. But the committee bylaws have changed since then. Instead of the commission chairman taking are of the actual hearing, there has been space available for a hearing officer to handle these cases. That takes a big load off of us. Tribal officials must remember that when you hold the status of a high rank, you’re representing the Southern Ute Tribal members.”

At the same time the Ethics Code and Commission was established, an Ethics Office was founded in order to provide administrative support to the Commission. The Code also requires an ethics investigator to investigate complaints and provide reports on those investigations. The committee is currently looking for additional members who are adequate in ethical conduct.

“The main thing is we want the community to know about us…each of our members has experiences and qualifications. We need more members who are honest and reliable. We’re looking for alternate members who can sit in for a hearing if one of our members isn’t able to fill that spot. Most importantly, we want people to know we exist. That way they can be able to come to us if they need help.

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