by Stephanie Rainwater-Sande
May 21, 2004
In January 2001 KIC membership voted to include a recall ordinance, which is the removal of Tribal Council members for serious offenses. However, this ordinance is so badly written and does not give due process for the targeted council member. Like many of KIC ordinances, policies, and procedures they need to be updated.
Who is trying to recall Council President Stephanie Rainwater-Sande?
Elmer Makua, who has 16 months experience as a KIC Tribal Council member requested a Tribal Council vote on whether to issue recall petitions to him. David Jensen, Norman Arriola and Carrie James, who has less than 120 days experience as a KIC Tribal Council member voted with Mr. Makua to begin the recall process.
What are the accusations that have been made?
The accusations fall into three categories: 1.) Alleged decision making by the President that did not please some members of the Tribal Council; 2.) Offense taken by members of the Council over supposed bad manners during meetings; and 3.) Not writing a response letter to a Tribal member who is in a lawsuit with KIC.
Are the accusations against Stephanie Rainwater-Sande true?
These accusations made by Elmer Makua are not true. There is no requirement for truth to be determined. The Council voted to issue petitions to Mr. Makua without any determination of truth, or any other due process that rightly should have been afforded to Ms. Rainwater-Sande. Mr. Makua and other petition circulators can also say anything and manipulate the truth in any way they see fit in order to obtain signatures. My responses to the allegations are:
Are these accusations worthy of removing the President from her office?
No! As they are untrue, fabricated, and presented to the membership as the truth with no back up documentation. This is self indulgent griping based on the dissatisfaction of four block-voting tribal council members who cannot make decisions on their own. This is a question that can only be answered by KIC Tribal members who may vote in the recall election, assuming that there are enough valid signatures submitted to the Tribal Council. Are hurt feelings and hunger for control reasons worth the turmoil and shame that Mr. Makua, David Jensen, Carrie James, and Norman Arriola have brought upon the Tribe? Or do you feel that only legitimate and serious offenses (a court conviction for drunk driving, or robbery, for instance) should trigger a recall attempt? Aren't political differences among Council members the types of issues that we usually suffer through only once a year at an expensive Council election?
What is the outcome of this situation?
Each KIC member and staff is affected by this recall attempt, regardless of the outcome of the petition or the recall election. KIC has been badly hurt. There is a serious loss of staff morale, and staff retention is at risk. Our federal funding partners are now on the alert for weaknesses (resulting in fewer funding opportunities) and will be increasingly scrutinizing all we do, eroding our sovereignty. KIC has taken enormous steps backward in the eyes of the community, the state, and among national leaders. Many are asking: "how can such a successful and well run organization have these kinds of problems?
What happens next?
You may be contacted and asked to sign a recall petition. Ask the circulator of the petition to provide back up documentation regarding the accusations. It is certainly your right to express any dissatisfaction you may feel about the alleged charges by signing the petition, that's the democratic process in action! You also have the right to express your dissatisfaction over the turmoil, embarrassment and expense caused by an unwarranted "6-month election" and refuse to sign it. It is your choice and right as a KIC Tribal Member. If and when there are enough valid signatures, the Tribal Council will again vote on whether the petition should go forward. If they vote to continue, Ms. Rainwater-Sande will have a meeting of the KIC Tribal membership to rebut the charges and prove them false. After this meeting, the tribal members will be asked to vote on whether Ms. Rainwater-Sande should be replaced as President of the Tribal Council based on the facts provided by her with documentation.
What can I do?
Decide how you are going to
respond to the petition circulators. If you know the accusations
are true and you believe that they are so serious as to require
a mid-year election that will cost approximately $11,557 (what
the last election cost the KIC tribe), then you should sign the
petition. However, if you are tired of the lies, untruth, gossip,
grief and shame, exercise your right to say "No!" Come
to the Tribal Council meetings! Express your opinion so that
the Council has an idea of what the Tribe wants - remember that
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.