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Tanana Chiefs Conference board votes to recall PJ Simon as chairman

Tanana Chiefs Conference chairman P.J. Simon has been removed from his leadership role at the Interior Tribal non-profit service organization. 

During a special meeting Wednesday, TCC’s board of directors voted to recall Simon following an all-day executive session.

Directors did not publicly discuss why, but Simon has come under criticism this fall for management decisions, including the firing of longtime organization attorney Natasha Singh. 

TCC Vice President Charlene Stern presided over the recall vote during the public portion of the meeting, which was livestreamed

The TCC Motion reads:  “The motion is to … is a motion to recall the chief chairman Simon by secret ballot. That’s what was motioned, seconded and questions been called.”

Independent auditors tallied the ballots, and two thirds supported Simon’s recall.  TCC declined an interview request, but a statement says Simon’s removal is effective immediately.

The board subsequently voted to have chief financial officer Brian Ridley take over leadership of the organization until March, when a permanent replacement for Simon, will be selected during TCC’s annual convention.

Simon’s ouster follows a lawsuit filed last month by the villages of Healy Lake and Dot Lake against four TCC executive board members, including vice president Stern, but not Simon.

The Fairbanks Daily Newsminer reported in November that the suit alleges “financial malfeasance, illegal meetings and a secret agreement to pay off an unnamed former employee.” 

A response statement from the TCC executive board says the litigation makes false allegations of fiscal irregularities.