The Ute Tribal Business Committee, divided in its first two attempts to choose a new chairman and vice chairman, unanimously elected Luke Duncan to head the panel after meeting in a closed session Tuesday.
Duncan, 39, was elected to the six-member governing board March 29 with the support of tribal dissidents. He was sworn in Monday, along with newcomer Curtis Cespooch and returning incumbent Stewart Pike.Elected vice chairwoman in a unanimous vote was Irene Cuch, 51, a two-year veteran of the committee who did not face re-election this year.
The voting followed a stormy inaugural session of the new panel on Monday, as Cuch and fellow incumbents Wilford Conetah and Gary Poowegup walked out of the meeting because of the deadlock in the voting.
The three newly elected members of the committee had supported Duncan for chairman and Cespooch for vice chairman, while the incumbents favored Cuch for the top post and Poowegup for vice chairman.
Duncan said the committee deadlocked again in the first round of voting Tuesday but decided after further discussion to "get together and move forward" for the sake of the tribe.