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The Colville Business Council voted to expel one of it’s members Thursday following an ethics investigation involving his use of a Tribal credit card.
Council Chairman Michael O. Finley said in a news release, that the council voted to expel Benjamin “Benny” Marchand, Jr. from their ranks. Marchand served the Omak District. His term was set to expire in July of 2015.
The action stems from an ethics complaint filed by Jack Ferguson, a Council representative from the Keller District and member of the Council’s Executive Committee.
Finley said following an investigation and hearing on the matter, the Rules Committee found that Marchand had violated the ethical standards set out for the Council by using his Tribal credit card in violation of the Council’s credit card policy eighteen times.
The Committee also determined that the violation constituted misfeasance, and recommended a two week suspension and restitution for the charges.
As the recommendation was read out for a vote by the full Council at Thursday special session, Nespelem District Councilman Ricky Gabriel made a motion to amend the recommendation and replace the suspension with expulsion from the Council.
Following debate, the Council voted 10 to 3 to expel Marchand. Debate was heard on the floor prior to a vote being taken on the amendment. The amendment was voted on, passed by a vote of 10 for 3 against, and then the amended recommendation was voted on with the same result.
According to the Council Rules, Marchand’s expulsion removes him for the remainder of their term, as well as deeming him ineligible from being a candidate in future elections.
Marchand was originally appointed to the Council following the resignation of former Omak District representative Ferdinand Louie. He won election last year.
Finley said, “This is a very difficult day for all of us.” He said, “Nothing about this is positive or enjoyable, it’s a series of events that hurts us all. We are determined, however, to forge ahead with the best interests of our People and our lands in our hearts, and continue to do the best job we can.”
Once a position on the Council is declared vacant, the Council will appoint a replacement.