Confidential Information: A Two-Way Street.

Pictured: Shoalwater Bay Tribal Council at the January 26, 2019 General Council Meeting.

Description: Shoalwater Bay Tribal Council faced difficult questions at a special Winter session of General Council on January 26, 2019 soon after the WSP debacle Came to Light. It was a Series of Events Prompted by the Tribal Administration Under Mike Rogers. During this Time Administration Leaks Lead to the Public Disclosure of Internal Affairs Documents and the Subsequent Damaging News Coverage that Resulted.

A Washington State document dated in mid-November confirms that Administrator Mike Rogers was trafficking in confidential information with sources within Pacific County. “Two sources have said Matt is going to become part of the new . . . command team,” Rogers declared.

A Shoalwater Bay officer had admitted to internal affairs investigators on October 19, 2018, that they had discussed confidential workplace matters with Scott Johnson by phone. It is very likely that at least one or both of the “sources” that Rogers referenced was Scott Johnson and the Shoalwater Bay officer respectively. 

As a result of this confidential information being passed back and forth from these two agencies, the Pacific County Police Offices, and the Shoalwater Bay administration, a media release was fashioned and sent to several local press offices urging publication.

The Press Notice Sent to Local Media Outlets

The press notice focused on on how Robin was Matt’s brother-in-law and was being hired in Pacific County. Also, the press leak pointed out that Padgett resigned from Shoalwater Bay before he could be fired. Additionally, reporters were urged to make a freedom of information act request to acquire Washington State internal affairs documentation. All the information was highly confidential Shoalwater Bay administration leaks at the time.     

On November 26, 2018 reporter Natalie St. John was doggedly following the story and started to make direct inquiries to the Washington State Patrol internal affairs and Mike Rogers’ offices at Shoalwater Bay.

St. John had received confidential information from the Shoalwater Bay tribal offices through an intermediate, allegedly from Scott Johnson in retaliation.

The Shoalwater Bay Community Begins to Find Out.

On Tuesday, December 4, 2018, Kopa Tilikum, a showlaterbaytribe.com Native journalism outlet for grassroots tribal and community reporting, was sent an online copy of a captioned video claiming to show a Shoalwater Bay officer stealing from the tribal food bank. Also, on that day a Chinook Observer article came out exposing that an outside State Agency was brought in to investigate a Shoalwater Bay police matter.

After Kopa Tilikum shoalwaterbaytribe.com received the surveillance materials, the Human Resources Director in the Shoalwater Bay Tribal Center was contacted and informed about the video in person. Tribal Administrator Mike Rogers was also given information about the video along with the attached caption in an email asking for a meeting with the Tribal Administrator to discuss the contents. Additionally, at that time a close family member of Scott Johnson who works for the Tribe received information about the video and caption.

According to news sources by that Sunday, December 9, 2018, Scott Johnson had heard about the video and contacted the officer after discovering what had happened, clearly to advise them about how they should handle it. The day after speaking with Johnson the officer filed a complaint with Johnson’s offices and had the case directly handled by the Pacific County Police Department under Johnson’s leadership.

Mike Rogers Increasingly Under Tribal Council Scrutiny.

Mike Rogers Under Coucil Scrutiny.

During this period Tribal Administrator Mike Rogers was under intensifying scrutiny. He was fighting to stay afloat and maintain his reputation in the eyes of Tribal Council. The main strategy that he used to absolve himself was to build up resentment against Robin Souvenir and Padgett; claiming that they were responsible for misdeeds involving Washington State internal affairs contractual obligations; though, as evidence has shown, Rogers had initiated the internal affairs investigation.

Rogers also used the hiring process for the recently opened Chief of Police position to illustrate his approach against Robin Souvenir. In a December 10, 2018 conversation in his office, Rogers made it clear that his main concern overall was that the new Police Chief would not follow the “bad example” of Robin Souvenir, “who shows no respect or gratitude,” Rogers said, “for what the Tribe has done for him.”  

Despite Rogers’ efforts to shift blame to his adversaries, this approach was wearing thin with Tribal Council as revelations were coming out in the news and within the Shoalwater Bay community about what had happened. Intense unease would continue for just over a month until Council could no longer look the other way. On January 8, 2019 as a special Winter session of General Council was nearing, Mike Rogers would exit his position as Tribal Administrator under a cloud.