Tribal Government & News

Tribal board to help oversee upcoming constitutional election

03.13.2014 Ron Karten Tribal Council, Elections, People, Tribal employees

Tribal Council appointed the Tribe's current Election Board members to serve on a Bureau of Indian Affairs Special Board that will oversee the upcoming constitutional amendment election during its March 5 meeting.

Tribal voters will be asked in early June whether they want to institute term limits for Tribal Council service, as well as if they want to remove Bureau of Indian Affairs and Secretary of the Interior oversight and involvement in Tribal constitutional elections.

The current five members of the Tribal Election Board are Penny DeLoe, Joanne Mercier, Sharon Hanson, Michael Mercier and Deanna Johnston. The director of the BIA's Siletz Agency office will chair the special election board.

Tribal Senior Staff Attorney Deneen Aubertin Keller said registration forms will be sent out to Tribal members in early April. Since this will be a special BIA election, Tribal members wishing to vote will have to register. Being already registered to vote in Tribal elections will not suffice, Keller said.

"The only way to remove the BIA is to remove that requirement from your Constitution," Keller said at the March 4 Legislative Action Committee hearing. "They are very happy to step out of this process as well, but the Constitution requires secretarial elections and secretarial approval of all amendments. … If this passes, this will be the last time you have to do that."

The term limits proposal going to Tribal voters would limit future Tribal Council service to three consecutive three-year terms. After reaching that limit, a Tribal Council member would have to take a year off before becoming eligible to run again. The amendment, if passed, would not be retroactive to those currently serving on Tribal Council.

To amend the Tribal Constitution, at least 30 percent of registered Tribal voters must cast a ballot and at least 66.7 percent of those voting must approve the change.

In other action, Tribal Council approved a first reading of amendments to the Employment Action Review Ordinance that would send contested employment actions directly to Tribal Court for a hearing by a neutral third party and end the current Independent Review Board process that requires a three-member board of Tribal employees hear the case first.

Tribal Chair Reyn Leno said he thinks the amendments will create a fairer process for employees.

Tribal Council also sent amendments to the Burial Fund Ordinance out for a second reading. New proposed amendments define the word "spouse" and allow those receiving the burial benefit to use some of the money to buy a Pendleton blanket from the Tribe for the funeral service.

Previously proposed amendments to the Burial Fund Ordinance increase the benefit to $5,500 and up the reception benefit to $300.

In other action, Tribal Council:

  • Appointed Alton Butler as the part-time Tribal Building Official;
  • Approved Tribal credit cards for new Health Services Executive Director Jeffrey Lorenz and Police Officer Patrick McConnell, who will be able to purchase food, supplies and emergency veterinary care for his K-9 partner Nix-Wa;
  • Declared March 14 as the per capita distribution date;
  • Approved the Cougar Logging Unit timber sale;
  • Extended the security contract with Advanced Security through the end of 2014;
  • And approved enrollment of two infants into the Tribe.

Also included in the Tribal Council packet for March 5 was an authorization to proceed that set fees for Tribal cultural classes, which will remain free for Tribal members and require all others to reimburse the Tribe for the cost of materials, if applicable.