by KIC President Stephanie Rainwater-Sande
January 15, 2005
The Failed Recall Attempt:
The terms of office at KIC are remarkably short - two years for the Tribal Council and only a one-year term for the President.
Given these abbreviated terms of service, one might think that the political ambitions of others would be satisfied with the abundance of opportunity for election, right? Apparently not! Since the Tribal Council enacted a recall ordinance in 2001, there have been at least three attempts at recall of the President or Council members, none of them successful.
The appropriate purpose of recall is to "un-elect" those who have been elected, usually because of severe and/or continuing official misconduct. It is always considered an extreme action, one of last resort when all else has failed to correct the situation. Another important premise is that recall should only be used when the "natural course of things" (i.e. another election for that seat) is far enough in the future to warrant the extraordinary measures that must be taken.
The current recall attempt was started against me, sitting as the Council President, by four dissident members of the current Tribal Council in April of 2004. Neither of the above-stated purposes for recall was met. In addition, no signatures were ever obtained or submitted to the Council. ABSOLUTELY NONE. The disruption and turmoil within KIC that has been created by this phony recall attempt can barely be described. It has stopped KIC from being productive, has demoralized the staff, and has led to diminished respect for the organization.
So, with these facts known, you may ask yourself, "Why has a faction of the KIC Tribal Council attempted to recall the President, who is elected every year?" Good question. The answer? Good, old-fashioned political positioning to wrest power and control with the least possible effort for the maximum disruptive effort. Used casually, this recall was the political equivalent of a drive-by shooting in L.A., or a roadside bomb in Iraq.
In 2002-2003, the apparent leader of the current recall attempt was spearheading something called "Ketchikan Indian Movement" that was organized to (surprise!) initiate a recall against the President and Council. Elmer Makua seems to be making a habit of positioning himself for political gain by threatening, "recall!" every time he wants to run for office. Is this the kind of President we want at KIC?
Now that election season is upon us, what can we learn from this? For one thing, it should be obvious that wrong-thinking officials can and will cause trouble if they have the resolve and opportunity. We can also be assured that the mission of the organization should be upheld and maintained, not ignored in favor of pursuing petty jealousies and personal grudges. Perhaps, also, we should consider that the KIC Council has too much ability to cause harm though recall. Future Councils may need to re-examine this matter.
Given the painful history of recall attempts at KIC, one has to inevitably come to the conclusion that if something should be done to either limit the ability for recall - OR, preferably, to elect more right-thinking Tribal Council members who will be mission-oriented rather than those who seek to use unreasonable expediency to climb their personal political ladders. A majority of high-caliber Council members would be able to fend off the thoughtless and destructive guerilla tactics of a handful of angry dissidents, no matter what the issues might be.
Please join me in sending the message to everyone this election season: KIC should never have to be subjected to this kind of political maneuvering again.
KIC Funding and Finance Issues:
According to a front-page Ketchikan Daily News article dated Jan. 10, 05 Barry Fowler, a certified public accountant and the independent auditor of KIC's finances and compliance for the past eight years, told the membership who attended the Ted Ferry Civic Center event that, as of December 31 2003, KIC's finances are clean, the tribe is in compliance with federal regulations and that KIC continues to qualify as a low-risk recipient of federal money.
I want to thank all KIC membership for their support during my tenure at KIC. It truly has been an honor serving my people.
Sincerely, believing in the future of our Tribe,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.