PLEASANT POINT — Is he the governor or not? Cliv Dore’s roller-coaster ride as tribal governor at this seaside Passamaquoddy reservation is over. Officials of the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, have decided that Dore’s resignation earlier this year was effective.
“Internally we in the tribe have known since day one that former Governor Cliv Dore was no longer governor, but until we got this so-called official notification from BIA, everybody was kind of wondering,” said Lt. Gov. William “Eric” Altvater.
In March, Dore verbally notified each member of the tribal council that he would resign. After making notification, Dore accepted the compensation that was due him, including his vacation pay.
Last April, Dore claimed to the Bureau of Indian Affairs that he had not resigned because he had put nothing in writing. “He said he got his vacation check, but he never cashed the check. We sent the BIA copies of the canceled checks for his vacation pay,” Altvater said. “So he was perpetrating some falsehoods there, let’s put it that way.”
Dore was elected governor in 1991, after the resignation of former Gov. Melvin Francis, who left for health reasons. He also had served as governor from 1984 to 1986. Before that, he had served as lieutenant governor, tribal health director and director of the Pleasant Point Housing Authority.
His latest term as governor had its share of tumult. In 1995, the tribal offices were overtaken by a group of young people who protested the decision to build an administrative building with money that was earmarked for a youth center. A move to oust Dore shortly after that protest was unsuccessful when Dore survived a recall vote.
Lt. Gov. Rick Doyle was appointed governor in March, and Altvater was elected lieutenant governor at the tribal election in May.
Altvater said BIA became involved because it is the agency through which federal money passes to the respective reservations.
Tribal state Rep. Fred Moore III said as far as he was concerned BIA’s letter meant nothing.
“I don’t view this opinion in this matter as being relevant,” Moore said. He said he believed the issue was whether Dore resigned, and he said Dore did that.
“I want to say that I think it is a mistake for this tribe to start depending and waiting like birds with their mouths open for the BIA to come and drop the worm in. In other words, this could set a bad precedent for this tribe to hold its breath while BIA makes a determination whether or not the actions it took were legal,” he said.
Dore has 30 days to appeal BIA’s decision to the assistant secretary of Indian Affairs. The former governor was unavailable for comment Tuesday afternoon.