Ethics, Hypocrisy & Quicksand

Here’s a memorandum from Oneida Vice-Chairperson Greg Matson that was sent out Wednesday: July 17, 2013 Internal Memorandum re: Iteration of Removal from Day to Day Decision-Making.

Interestingly, Vice-Chairperson Matson’s memo addresses the topic of the Oneida Tribe’s Code of Ethics and reports of supposed violations thereof.

Speaking of Vice-Chairperson Matson and the Tribe’s Code of Ethics, the Tribe should be made aware of Greg Matson’s bizarrely unethical conduct which violated Code of Ethics Section 3.3-3 (c) (2) at the secretive unannounced OBC working meeting held last Friday, July 12, 2013. More on that below.

First, what’s meant by “secretive” and “unannounced”?

  • The meeting was originally scheduled at a time when those who called for it knew that Chairperson Delgado wouldn’t be available to attend and chair the meeting.
  • The meeting was never announced on the Tribe’s GroupWise notification system so the Tribal public would be aware of it.
  • OBC members and OSGC executives & Board members seemed genuinely shocked that members of the General Tribal Council knew about the meeting and were in attendance as well.

The meeting began with Chairperson Delgado’s observation that the short-notice event, purportedly regarding the petition to dissolve OSGC, was very unusual as petitions are normally just sent to the Business Committee for consideration at their bi-monthly Executive & Regular Meetings once the petition signatures have been confirmed by the Tribal Secretary’s office.

After Vice-Chairperson Matson then conveyed how flabbergasted he was to have first learned of the petition filing at a meeting of the Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes from members of other tribes who had heard about it in the media, he went on to bemoan the amount of coverage the petition filing had received.

[Point of fact: The first local media coverage of the petition was a report by NBC26-WGBA on June 27, 2013, which just goes to show how out of touch Greg Matson is. He was probably busy watching cartoons.]

Chairperson Delgado reminded everyone that many soldiers have given their lives to guarantee that GTC members have free access to the media for anything they think deserves attention.

Early on, Tribal Treasurer Tina Danforth started to try to scold the petition coordinator who was in attendance by saying, “I’m sick of the way you’re making the Tribe look ba-,” but was cut off by peals of laughter from petition supporters. Treas. Danforth left quickly thereafter with her sister, OSGC Board member Caterina Delgado, in tow.

When it became clear that GTC members would be free to speak their minds, OSGC CFO Bruce King stated that he’d prefer to meet at a time when Tribal cameras could record the events (which is very strange given that media requests for on-camera statements usually result in OSGC reacting the way a cat would to a dog’s pool party invitation), and an exodus of the remaining OSGC executives & officers commenced shortly thereafter.

But if OSGC knew it was to be an “open meeting” regarding the petition, why would they not expect petition supporters to show up or speak freely? Other than the steps that seem to have been taken to keep the meeting under wraps. Perhaps they’d been given the impression that the meeting was actually supposed to be a gripe-fest for grousing and plotting against the petitioners.

The highlights of the meeting, as Oneida Eye has noted, were the admission by Council member & Liaison to OSGC Brandon Stevens that Green Bay Renewable Energy is wholly-owned by OSGC, as well as the strange flip-flop of Chief Counsel Jo Anne House regarding her February 15, 2011 legal opinion that GTC members should have access to OSGC’s Disclosure Reports. She now feels they shouldn’t.

Most disturbing of all, however, was Vice-Chairperson Greg Matson’s unhinged behavior toward the end of the meeting which was clearly a violation of the Tribe’s Code of Ethics, Section 3.3-3 (c) (2):

A government official should use the following standards in relation to the duties of office…

be patient, dignified and courteous to constituents, co-officials, and others with whom the official deals in an official capacity, and should require similar conduct of others in official proceedings and those personnel subject to the official’s discretion and control.

After an attendee indicated they weren’t interested in Vice-Chairperson Matson’s rhetorical questions about how plastic wrappers could be safe enough to be in contact with sliced cheese for long periods of time if they weren’t also safe to melt and combust, Vice-Chairperson Matson attempted to shush the attendee.

When the attendee made it clear they objected to being shushed, Vice-Chairperson Matson made the following jaw-dropping statement:

Better I shush you than that I rush you.

In other words, Vice-Chairperson Greg Matson felt it was somehow appropriate at an official working meeting in OBC’s Executive Conference Room to convey his consideration of the possibility of physical violence toward someone with a differing opinion.

Vice-Chairperson Matson’s disgraceful statement was witnessed by GTC members in attendance who were shocked by his crazy comment, and yet some were not entirely surprised given the reputation for rancor and reports of rage between OBC members, their staff and other Tribal employees on Norbert Hill Center’s 2nd Floor when views are dissimilar.

Especially of note is the behavior of Greg Matson’s Executive Assistant Chaz Wheelock which, according to Code of Ethics Section 3.3-3 (c) (2), is the responsibility of Greg Matson to deal with as Chaz Wheelock is “personnel subject to the official’s discretion and control.” Although, to be fair, it’s reported that Greg Matson is often screamed at by Chaz Wheelock who uses the workplace as a firing range for anger mismanagement. Nevertheless, Vice-Chairperson Matson should man up and deal with Mr. Wheelock.

On the other hand, perhaps Vice-Chairperson Matson approves of the fact that Executive Assistant Chaz Wheelock behaves in a hostile way in the workplace because Matson believes it somehow justifies his own hostility toward others. Or maybe Greg’s just scared of Chaz.

Vice-Chairperson Matson’s thinly veiled threat was also witnessed by Council member and felonious burglar Brandon Stevens, though he’s not necessarily the most reliable source of honest recollection of events, or even his own emails.

For example, acting in his official capacity as a Council member and Liaison to OSGC Mr. Stevens issued on August 9, 2010 a reply email to concerns about OSGC’s burgeoning gasification plans in which he said:

The biomass projects cited in these articles are incineration models that burn their feedstock and more than likely have smoke stacks and 7 Gens model is self-contained, no stacks.

Yet, Judge Marc A. Hammer at a January 9, 2013 Decision Hearing cited these same claims of “self-contained” and “no stacks” by OSGC as part of the evidence that OSGC made misrepresentations of their incinerator project to the City of Green Bay thereby warranting the city’s recision of a Conditional Use Permit. Beyond that, the WI Dept. of Natural Resources informed OSGC that their proposal was not, in fact, a “biomass project.”

When Council member Stevens was asked point blank about the false claims in his email at an April 30, 2013 Community Meeting regarding the petition to prohibit OSGC from building incinerators on the Oneida Reservation, he unscrupulously replied by falsely denying that he’d ever sent his August 9, 2010 email.

Surely lying in official OBC emails and publicly lying about lying in official OBC emails is no more in line with the Tribe’s Code of Ethics than suggesting that the only alternative to attempting to silence someone is to assault them.

What standing should blatant hypocrites such as Vice-Chairperson Greg Matson or Council member Brandon Stevens have when it comes to considering supposed violations of the Tribe’s Code of Ethics by others when their own behavior while acting in an official capacity is undeniably in violation of those same standards of conduct?

It seems to be a morass of quicksand for both of them.


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