ONLR looking into Hawkes

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Court documents attached with memos from the Office of Navajo Labor Relations (ONLR) stated it has initiated its own investigations in regard to complaints filed against Alamo Navajo School Board, Inc. Executive Director Michael Hawkes.

Court documents attached with memos from the Office of Navajo Labor Relations (ONLR) stated it has initiated its own investigations in regard to complaints filed against Alamo Navajo School Board, Inc. Executive Director Michael Hawkes.

ONLR’s investigation surrounds the accusations that Hawkes had been violating portions of the Navajo Preference Employment Act in regard to creating a “hostile work environment,” not paying employees for their work and the alleged physical abuse of employees, which was the basis of a complaint filed with the labor relations office April 24 by former business office employee Hotona Secatero in the ongoing case of Hotona Secatero v. Michael Hawkes.

Secatero and Hawkes met in court Friday for the initial proceedings of the case. Secatero is seeking restitution for alleged physical and emotional abuse while working for the ANSBI. Secatero also alleges Hawkes violated a temporary protection order on May 8.

The restitution amount Secatero seeks has yet to be announced, but court documents said she is seeking payment for actual damages – medical and legal bills incurred. Additionally, the documents stated she does want him to refrain from any form of domestic violence on her, maintain compliance with the domestic abuse protection order and to post a bond of $50,000 if he violates that court order, if the judge rules in her favor.

Hawkes’ defense attorney Justin Jones argued the evidence of the ONLR investigation presented in the civil case, being presented in the Family Court of the Alamo/To’Hajilee Judicial District, is not admissible for this particular case as it pertains to a separate matter.

Navajo Rules for Domestic Violence state “relaxed” rules of evidence and procedure can and may be applied to the case.

“Relaxed rules may not be used to determine guilt in a criminal action, but hearsay and relaxed proceedings may (be) used to determine conditions of release and a sentence following conviction by plea or trial,” the provisions stated.

Secatero’s attorney Russell Sacks declined to comment on the grounds that he did not want any sort of judicial bias to be portrayed in news.

As of Monday, June 30, officials with the Office of Navajo Labor Relations told El Defensor Chieftain the investigation is still ongoing and would not release any information to the press at this time.

Both Secatero and Hawkes were subsequently put on administrative leave by the school board following the filing of the May 8 complaint, but Jones said Hawkes had returned to work. In the documents, it was stated that Secatero does not believe her contract would be renewed by the ANSBI.

The next court date for the matter is 10 a.m. July 18 at the courthouse in Alamo.