OBSERVER Staff Report
Seneca Nation of Indians President Robert Odawi Porter appears to be going through a political struggle with other members of the Nation.
According to a statement released by Porter Saturday, the Seneca Nation has voted to remove him from his position as Chief Executive Officer and appointed councilor Michael "Spike" John to the position.
Seneca Nation of Indians President Robert Odawi Porter
Porter says John is an ally of former President Barry E. Snyder Sr. and says the vote is due to "policy directions" his administration has taken. Porter also says he is continuing to lead the Nation.
According to Steve Bell, Director of Public Affairs at Eric Mower & Associates, the title of CEO is more of a ceremonial post.
"The power of the administrative, executive wing of the government remains with the President," Bell said Saturday. "The president is still in control of the government and still retains all of his powers under the constitution as elected president."
The full statement reads as follows:
"The Seneca Nation Council today, on a motion sponsored by Councillor J.C. Seneca and seconded by Councillor Donald John, voted 10-6 to remove me from my position as Chief Executive Officer and appointed Councillor Michael "Spike" John to the position. Donald John is the brother of Michael John.
"As our elected president, I continue to lead the Nation, and am grateful to the Councillors who supported me, including Council Chairman Richard Nephew.
"The Council's decision reflects political discontent about a few policy directions my administration has taken, especially cracking down on corrupt insider deals and refusal to go along with the 'business as usual' practices that have marked previous Nation administrations.
"I ran on a platform last year that I would promise a 'New Direction' for the Seneca people and the Seneca Party and carried 77 percent of the vote. Only because of the nature of our political system where I inherited eight councilors from the previous administration of former President Barry E. Snyder, Sr. have I been unable to make progress with many difficult internal and external issues. My opponents in government, unfortunately, reflect the 'old direction' that I believe the Seneca people rejected last fall.
"Spike John is a political ally of former President Snyder and is a leading symbol of the dysfunction in our Nation government. Today's effort is part of a concerted effort by a handful of self-interested politicians to hold on to the reins of power in our Nation government in the face of positive change begun last fall.
"Today's effort to appoint a new government administrator, led by Councillors J.C. Seneca and Sue Abrams, put personal interests ahead of the Seneca people and the Seneca Nation. I will stand firm in my responsibility to protect the best interests of all Seneca people in the days to come."
"This decision is rife with dirty politics. Spike John voted on his own position and his own brother seconded the motion."