Rosebud Chief of Police Victim of Politics

Kevin Swalley Sr

Kevin Swalley, Sr., a Rosebud Sioux Tribal member, was hired as the Chief of Police in November 2014 by Tribal Council motion. He was never allowed to start his new job and has spent the last 13 months trying to get his issue resolved. His challenge of the hiring of a non-member has been ignored by tribal officials. Courtesy photo. 

By Vi Waln
Times Correspondent

ROSEBUD – A Rosebud Tribal member who was hired as the Chief of Police over a year ago, appears to be a victim of tribal politics as he has never been able to start his job.

Kevin Swalley, Sr. was selected as Chief of Police by the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council (RSTC) on November 18, 2014. An excerpt of the hiring action reads “Motion to seat Kevin Swalley as Chief of Police.” The vote was 13 in favor, 0 opposed and 1 not voting.

The job offer was contingent upon Swalley receiving a favorable background adjudication. The process of conducting background investigations on tribal police officers often takes several months. He did receive a favorable adjudication, dated July 20, 2015, in which “a final recommendation for employment suitability and/or eligibility for a law enforcement position has been made.” A copy of this letter, along with several other documents, was provided to the Tribal Council last week.

The documents include an excerpt from a February 12, 2015 tribal council meeting which reads: “Motion to detail Marlin Enno to the Chief Administrator at Rosebud Law Enforcement Services and his current position at Adult Corrections be held until the end of this detail. He [shall] receive the Chief of Police salary and the term of this detail not to exceed 6 months. The detail [shall] be effective immediately and the supervision of Mr. Enno [will] be with the Vice President.” The vote was 16 in favor, 0 opposed and 1 not voting.

In the past, the RSTC has placed other people who’ve been hired as Chief of Police into the Chief Administrator position at the police department. This action is generally done when an applicant is waiting for his background investigation to be adjudicated favorably. The Chief Administrator job has also been held by people whose law enforcement qualifications are questionable.

Despite Swalley’s favorable background adjudication, on July 24, 2015 the tribal council approved a “Motion to advertise the [law enforcement] Chief Administrator’s position for 14 days.” Another motion from the same meeting reads “Motion to extend Mr. Enno’s detail until the position is filled.”

In a December 3, 2015 letter to the tribal council, Swalley writes that on May 20, 2015 he challenged “the fact the qualifications were lowered to meet M. Enno’s qualifications, [the Chief Administrator] position was not advertised and [Enno] is not a tribal member. President Kindle refuses to address [the] challenge. There were several other RST members who also challenged Enno. [These issues were] Not addressed by the President.”

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Personnel Manual allows qualified tribal members to challenge non-tribal members hired for any position. For instance, “If a Tribal member candidate and a non-member candidate(s) compete for the same Tribal job and a non-member candidate is hired, the Tribal member may appeal the hiring decision to the RST Personnel Committee on the ground the Tribe’s Indian preference policy was violated.”

The personnel manual also states “a non-member shall enter into a written agreement with the Tribe by which the non-member agrees to resign from his/her position upon notice by the Human Resources Director that an RST tribal member who meets the minimum qualifications for the job in question seeks to be retained for such job.”

Swalley also wrote that he “challenged the fact that I had been [technically] hired for the Chief Administrator position, [job title changed from Chief of Police], on 11/18/2014. This motion to hire me was never rescinded. I am more qualified and I am a RST member. This challenge was done prior to interviews. President Kindle refused to address this challenge.”

On September 8, 2015, Swalley again “challenged Marlin Enno for the Chief Administrator position, this position [was originally the Chief of Police job and] was already given to me by motion 11/18/2014 [and was never rescinded]. I am a RST member and my qualifications exceed those of Marlin Enno. President Kindle refused to address this challenge.”

Swalley also submitted an ethics violation on September 8 in reference to all the challenges and violations of the RST Constitution and federal civil rights violations he has suffered. None of his issues have been adequately addressed. He also states in his December 3 letter that he had several discussions with the RST Personnel/Human Resources Director and “did request in writing the disposition of both the ethics complaint and ALL my challenges. The challenges and ethics complaint have still not been addressed.”

He has approached both the Personnel and Judiciary committees with his issues. He has also spoken with several council members, yet his complaints have never been addressed.

“I am requesting my challenge(s) and ethics complaint be addressed in council due to the fact that the [Personnel] Director [Linda M. Honahni] and President William Kindle refuse to address these issues,” Swalley wrote in his December 3, 2015 letter to the tribal council, administration and the personnel department.

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