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Top agenda item at Bethel meeting is deciding who runs the Association of Village Council Presidents

By The Associated Press

Oct. 3, 2016 - A leadership dispute is expected to be continued at a 3-day conference of the Association of Village Council Presidents kicking off in Bethel Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Protesting delegates plan to push their argument that the member villages are in charge of the regional nonprofit, not executive leadership. Protesters say the organization's executive board and their attorneys have hijacked authority from the tribes that created it decades ago to advocate for 56 Alaska Native communities.

Acting association President Michael Hoffman in July said in an email to The Associated Press that the campaign against AVCP is the work of a small group of tribal members who have long sought to replace the association with a regional tribal government.

Mike Williams, who is with one of the protesting villages, Akiak, said Monday delegates do plan to bring up the idea of creating a constitutional type of regional government,  the association has been under close scrutiny after KYUK reported allegations of misspent federal funds that emerged after 30 employees were laid off late last year.