Wed November 16, 2011

Lt. Governor, Indian Affairs Commission Defend Carole Harvey Firing

Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia is defending his decision to fire the executive secretary of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, a move that’s angered some activists in Indian country.

But at a meeting Wednesday, Garcia maintained his decision followed consultation about her job performance with the leaders of the state’s two tribes.

Earlier this month, Carol Harvey was abruptly fired from her post as the Hickenlooper Administration’s top liason between state government and Colorado tribal leaders.  Harvey was a  holdover appointee from Governor Bill Ritter, but gained notoriety under this administration for her work on urban Indian poverty and her efforts to address the high drop-out rates of native students.

However, during a CCIA meeting conference call Wednesday, Lt. Governor Garcia said he felt more was needed to improve the government to government relationship with the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes.

"As part of my obligation to provide the highest level of service to the tribes in accordance with the statute, I felt it was time to make a change based on feedback I had received from my chief of staff, what I had observed and what I had heard from other members of the commission," Garcia said.

The commission voted unanimously to move ahead with a search for a replacement.  According to an email sent by Carole Harvey to the commission, she was offered a one-month severance deal on the condition she not sue for wrongful termination.

Harvey said she declined that offer.