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Flathead Joint Board reorganizes

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ST. IGNATIUS — Rumors were flying about a protest planned by Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal members at the May 13 Flathead Joint Board of Control meeting. 

There was no protest, and the FJBC board members voted on board officers, swearing in new members Jerry Laskody, Mission District, Division 3 trustee; and Shane Orien, Flathead District 4 trustee. Both Laskody and Orien were elected on May 7.

The new slate of officers included Boone Cole, chair; Wayne Blevins, vice chair; Jim Baker, secretary/treasurer; and Ted Hein, member at large.

Trustees also elected Cooperative Management Entity board members Ted Hein, Flathead District, and Ray Swenson, Mission District, to fill vacancies on the CME board.

In other business, FJBC Office Manager Lindy Tachick submitted her resignation, so the board will be accepting letters of interest on her position. 

Board attorney Jon Metropoulos reported on two lawsuits filed against the FJBC, one by the Western Montana Water Users and one by Lloyd Ingraham.

The WMWU sued the FJBC  and the Mission, Flathead and Jocko irrigation districts, alleging they violated state law by negotiating with the CSKT tribes on the water rights compact. On Feb. 15 District Judge C. B. McNeil ruled in favor of the WMWU. The FJBC appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, and the CSKT asked the Supreme Court to take control of the case and overrule McNeil.

The Supreme Court did vacate McNeil’s ruling, but there are still five contentions to deal with and they are in discovery. 

Ingraham’s brought a writ of prohibition signed by McNeil to a special FJBC meeting on April 16. The writ was to prevent the FJBC from accepting the water compact. The suit was stalled because it was believed Ingraham was not an irrigator. Since it’s been established that Ingraham is indeed an irrigator, the suit will go into discovery, Metropoulos said, or “whatever the irrigators want.” 

The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on June 10 at 11 a.m. at the FJBC building in St. Ignatius. 


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