In his administration’s closing days, Mike Rogers understood and openly expressed that he had very few days left as Tribal Administer at Shoalwater Bay. Just a few weeks before Tribal Council forced his resignation, the Tribal Administrator also let it be known that he was not entirely out of the game, as he said, he may just run for Tribal Council. This was no idle threat against those who allowed and facilitated his removal by exposing and voting against him on Tribal Council.
At the end of 2020, Rogers would make good on his pledge to return to power. When Dennis Julnes vacated the Member-at-Large position about ten weeks before the end of his term, Mike Rogers put in for the newly opened Council position. Undissuaded by Council’s refusal to appoint him, Rogers ran for vice-chair in the 2021 bid, losing to the Council Treasurer. Seeing an opening in the newly opened Treasurer position, Mike Rogers is likely to put in for the position.
Council’s Constitutional Role and the Wide Community Support Against a New Appointment.
In line with the Shoalwater Bay Constitution, Tribal Council has an obligation to protect the health and welfare of the tribal community, to support tribal member rights and wellbeing. Specifically, the preamble to the Shoalwater Bay Constitution gives a mandate to General Council and Tribal Council, as it reads, to “promote the general welfare of our people and our descendants, protect the rights of the Tribe and of its members, and preserve our land base, culture and identity, do hereby establish this Constitution.”
Along with the leadership of our tribal business community and many others, significantly the elders group have stated publicly that the last administration severely undermined the Shoalwater Bay community; placing the wellbeing of our people at risk, and challenging fundamental tribal member rights. For these reasons, covering news about Mike Rogers’ potential return to power at Shoalwater Bay is crucial, including the potential dangers to the community if Tribal Council makes such an appointment.
Why Council Removed the Tribal Administrator: Administration’s Campaign Politics, Misleading Council, Dishonesty, and the Sidestepping Shoalwater Bay Police and Workplace Regulations.
Many events could be used to illustrate why Tribal Council had originally removed Mike Rogers from his position. Despite this, no specific instance is more enlightening than the events surrounding Mike Rogers’ misuse of his position during the Pacific County Sheriff’s race. Rogers decided to use every means at his disposal, legal, ethical, or not, to support his friend, former Sheriff Scott Johnson, against the Shoalwater Bay Tribe’s Chief of Police.
In short, during the Sheriff’s race, Rogers targeted Shoalwater Bay’s Chief of Police along with his campaign manager (also a Shoalwater Bay police officer) by hiring an outside investigative unit to look into a political adversary of Pacific County Sheriff Scott Johnson. Counter to the Shoalwater Bay Constitution, Rogers hired a Washington State internal affairs unit to do the investigation. In the process, and not less dangerous, the administration directly countermanded Shoalwater Bay Police regulations.
Like Shoalwater Bay Tribal workplace policy in general, Shoalwater Bay Police Regulations are similarly concrete and well laid out. These policy statements are found in Shoalwater Bay Tribal Police Department regulations, 6.07.08.
Later, when asked to explain why the administration did not follow the police regulations, HR and Mike Rogers claimed they chose one set of policies over the other; choosing instead to ignore regulations specific to tribal police. This misinformation strategy allowed the administration to pivot away from Shoalwater Bay police regulations that required that Tribal Council be immediately informed of the police investigation. However, legally, in terms of breach of tribal sovereignty and community confidentiality, the administration must inform Council when hiring a United States investigative unit to look into Shoalwater Bay Tribal business.
Documented evidence from the Washington State Internal Affairs archive directly contradicts the Shoalwater Bay administration’s assertions. In opposition to their stated position, throughout the investigation, the administration used police regulations 6.07.08. In this way, Mike Rogers misused his position, ignored the Shoalwater Bay Constitution, cherry picked workplace and tribal police policy, in order to mislead and misinform Tribal Council. This was done to support his friend Scott Johnson against two of the tribe’s highest level police officers.
This is significant because Shoalwater Bay Police Department directive 6.07.08 requires that, “Observations and actions shall be documented and referred to the Tribal Council.” In this case, Tribal Council would not be notified at all by the administration. The outside press caught wind of what had happened, and were directly alerted to the State Internal Affairs investigation by an agent of Sheriff Scott Johnson. Johnson, unlike the tribal administration, knew that an internal affairs investigation was open for public discovery and could be used against his political adversaries. This is why the investigation as well as documented proof was leaked to the press as retaliation. As for Council as a body, most tribal leadership found out what had happened through local press inquiries and subsequent investigations, including that of shoalwaterbaytribe.com.
The Damage that the Administration Scandal Caused the Shoalwater Bay Tribe and the Potential for Future Harm to the Tribal Community.
All investigative documents, including the names of several tribal, workplace, and community members, were open to the public as per United States and State of Washington open information laws, and were used to harm Sheriff Johnson’s opponents in the Sheriff’s campaign. During most of the campaign Council as a body continued to be misinformed about what had happened for months during the height of the scandal.
In addition to being unconstitutional, the move opened the tribe’s employees and many tribal community members to the intrusive exposure of private and confidential personal information, as these documents are publicly available at request. Added to the many instances of Mike Rogers’ misuse of his position for political purposes, the consistent misleading of Tribal Council, various instances of dishonest behavior, include the skirting of laws and policies designed to protect the Shoalwater Bay community. Reentering in a high-level position of power with a potential to retaliate against individuals and institutions that exposed him presents great concern among many within the Shoalwater Bay Tribal Community