(KCPW News) Governor Gary Herbert opened up today about why he fired Division of Indian Affairs Director Forrest Cuch. Herbert said his service had been sub-par, and it was hurting relations between Native American tribes and the governor’s office. He also described Cuch as insubordinate. But the last straw, said Herbert, was Cuch’s attempt to cancel the Utah Native American Summit.
“A keystone of what I started when I was Lieutenant Governor he unilaterally said he was going to pull. It’s not his decision. It’s my decision,” said Herbert, speaking at his monthly news conference on KUED. “And that is again another indication that he was not representing my office with the Native Americans as it should have been done.”
But Cuch, who told KCPW he never heard a formal explanation from the governor, says he never attempted to cancel the summit. He says in fact, the Lieutenant Governor was behind that effort.
“We had discussions about that because the Lieutenant Governor said that his staff member, who raised the money for the summit was no longer available to raise money for the summit, so maybe that’s what he’s referring to, but that wasn’t my decision. That was the Lieutenant Governor’s decision,” says Cuch.
Cuch says he was never made aware of any problems with his service. Herbert fired Cuch in February, after 13 years on the job. The governor said he’s working with the tribal council to fill the position.