County’s legal autonomy could be undermined

As a conservation group, PERM has always followed Minnesota citizens’ response to Mille Lacs Band claims of the existence of the long-disestablished reservation. Our concern is the protection of natural resources for benefit of all citizens. Mark Utne’s Letter to the Editor, “Conflict of interest? Mille Lacs Messenger, September 30, 2020” is a good example of why we do. (Letter below.)

Currently, the Mille Lacs Band is suing Mille Lacs County over a law enforcement agreement between the County and the Band. The sticking point is whether the agreement covers the entire claimed–but long since disestablished–61,000-acre reservation and not just the current 3,500-acres of trust land serving as a “reservation.”

If a tribal member is elected to the Mille Lacs County Board of Commissioners, that person would be privy to everything the lawsuit defendants’ are doing to defend themselves. A fox in the henhouse would entirely undermine Mille Lacs County’s legal autonomy. (See letter below.)

Douglas Meyenburg, President, PERM

Conflict of interest?

I am writing in support of Dave Oslin, county commissioner for northern Mille Lacs County’s 5th District. Dave is a dedicated public servant and has been serving the county for two terms over eight years. In addition to his normal duties as county commissioner, Dave is actively involved in at least 10 committees including the Public Safety, Housing & Redevelopment Authority, Community Health Services Board, East Central Solid Waste Commission, Emergency Food & Shelter Program, Executive Committee, Law Library, Mille Lacs Lake Watershed Advisory Group, MN Rural Counties Caucus, and Snake River Watershed Policy Committee.

Dave is also on committees for the Association of MN Counties. They are the Public Safety, Emergency Services & Indian Affairs committees. Recently he was on the MN DNR Mille Lacs Fisheries Advisory Committee as well

Dave Oslin’s challenger for county commissioner is the current tribal liaison to the Minnesota DNR and was formally the Mille Lacs Band’s DNR Commissioner. The Mille Lacs Band filed suit against the county, county attorney and Sherriff over the reservation boundaries. The case is still being litigated in the courts and will continue for some time. If elected, the challenger could participate in county legal strategy meetings regarding the lawsuit. This seems like there would be a obvious conflict of interest.

Please support County Commissioner Dave Oslin with your vote.

Mark Utne, Isle

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