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Bickering distracts from positive work
by Merle Nancy Hawkins


May 25, 2004

I find it necessary to clarify some things that have happened at the KIC tribal council table.

Please do not listen to the vicious lies, innuendos, untrue and gossip that are being circulated by some tribal members. It you have any questions call me, Merle Hawkins, Rob Sanderson, Samuel Bergeron or, Stephanie Rainwater-Sande, the President, which the people elected to make decisions based on what is best for the tribe as a whole.

What will it be for KIC tribe solutions and focusing our energy on getting the work done, such as updating the ordinances, policies and procedures of the tribe or bickering and fighting amongst us? President Rainwater-Sande, Tribal Council Members David Jensen, Norman Arriola, Sue Pickrell, Marly Edenso, Samuel Bergeron, Elmer Makua and Merle Hawkins were the 2003 KIC tribal council members.

In September 2003 a directive was given to the CEO, Georgiana Zimmerle to work on the Rules and Procedures for the tribal council. This was necessary as so many things such as the telephone poll vote and the censuring of tribal council members gave no clarification as to how they were to be done and therefore left a lot of room for individual interpretation.

At the regular meeting Jan. 20, 2004 Pickrell made the motion, Edenso seconded to adopt Resolution KIC 03-49 Rules of Procedure for the tribal council. Roll call vote Edenso-Yes, Pickrell-Yes, Jensen-No, Bergeron-Yes, Arriola-No, Makua-No, Hawkins-Yes.

The 2004 tribal council elected on January 19, 2004 is: President Stephanie Rainwater-Sande, Vice-President Merle Hawkins, Treasurer Sam Bergeron, Secretary Carrie James, David Jensen, Norman Arriola, Elmer Makua, and Rob Sanderson. On January 26, 2004 new council members installed Carrie James, Rob Sanderson and Merle Hawkins.

At the February 9, 2004 regular meeting Mr. Makua asked what rules are we working under? Makua called for a point of order regarding the Rules of Procedure that were adopted at the January 20, 2004 meeting. Makua stated that the Rules of Procedure that were properly adopted were out of order according to ordinance 7, Tribal Council Policies, which were adopted by the KIC membership in the 1994 annual election. Section 15: Referendum which states that "Upon adoption of this Ordinance by the KIC Tribal membership, this document may not be added to or in any other way changed except by the Tribal members in a Referendum vote at the Annual Election." David Jensen stated that even though the Tribal Council adopted the Rules of Procedure, the Tribal Council should not operate under the Rules of Procedures until the next annual election or special election. President Rainwater-Sande ruled that the new Rules of Procedure are in order. Elmer Makua and David Jensen made a motion to appeal the ruling of the Chair that the Rules of Procedure are in order. By ballot vote the Tally Committee reported the vote was a tie, 4-4. In case of a tie, the final decision shall go with Council President who then voted to uphold the Chair's ruling that the Rules of Procedure are in order. Our President stated, "Our attorney states that the Rules of Procedure clarifies business, and does not change the ordinance."

If every time we want to change Ordnance 7, Tribal Council, will have to do a Referendum vote that just ties the hands of the KIC tribal council, who were elected to make the decisions for the tribe our tribal members are certainly entitled to let us know their thoughts on such issues.

At the request of Makua, President Rainwater-Sande directed the CEO to contact the KIC attorney regarding this issue.

On March 8, 2004 the tribe council received information for KIC's attorney, Phillip Baker-Shenk regarding Ordinance 7, Tribal Council Policies. He states "the restriction in Section 15 Ordinance 7 does not render unlawful the adoption of KIC ­03-49 by KIC's elected governing body, since KIC-03-49 does not add to or change the Ordinance #7 document."

The legal opinion continues on with: "Moreover, an analysis of the specific provisions of KIC-03-49 also reveals that it does not add to or change Ordinance 7. At most, the provisions of KIC-03-49 clarify and interpret provisions in Ordinance #7 and the KIC Constitution. Like Ordinance #7, KIC­03-49 must be read in the light of the KIC Constitution and may not contradict constitutional provisions. But it is entirely within the lawful province of the KIC Tribal Council to interpret provision of the KIC Constitution as well as tribal law such as Ordinance #7." See Article V, Section 1(m) KIC Constitution: To aid needy members and protect the general welfare and security of the Organization. It would appear that the Tribal Council by enacting Resolution KIC-03-49 has done just that, interpreted provisions of both the Constitution and Ordinance #7..

Accordingly, since Resolution KIC-03-49 neither adds to nor changes Ordinance #7 and merely interprets in greater detail the Tribal Council rules of procedures set fourth in KIC Constitution and in Ordinance #7, I would conclude that enactment of Resolution KIC­03-49 was well within the lawful authority of the Tribal Council and having been duly adapted on January 20, 2004, the Rules of Procedure enacted pursuant to Resolution KIC­03-49 lawfully governed the conduct of the Tribal Council.

April 12, 2004 Tribal Council Meeting KIC's attorney from Washington, D.C., Phillip Baker-Shenk attended and made a presentation regarding Ordinance #7. Against his recommendations tribal council members, James, Arriola, Jensen, and Makua rescinded the Resolution KIC-03-49, Rules of Procedure and returned to using Ordinance 7 and the KIC Constitution. The cost of this to the tribe was in the thousands of dollars in hiring the attorney, bring him to Ketchikan and than the block voting four ignored his advice.

Makua and James brought up several issues with the attorney. Makua thought that the business of the tribe should not be handled and drop to the floor from the time the new council is elected to the time they are installed. That would be a sad state of affairs for our tribe, and the attorney agreed.
Carrie James: "newly elected tribal council member. I was one of the council members elected January 19th, 2004. There was a meeting held on January 20 and a motion was made by outgoing council members Sue Pickrell, seconded by Marly Edenso. As a newly elected council member, I have a right to revisit this resolution because this was a resolution passed after I was elected and I think I have a right to revisit this and I am qualified to revisit this because I have one hundred and forty members that believe that I was qualified to serve as a tribal council member."

As a Tribal Council Member, what I, Merle Hawkins, have been taught regarding this is that once a resolution or a motion is brought to the table is belongs to the tribe and not to the individual. I make decisions based on the facts and on what is best for the membership as a whole and it appears that Ms. James who had three months experience at this time makes her decision to bring the Rules and Procedures back to the table because she thinks she was left out of the decision making process. This does not make sense, as she was not on the tribal council at the time of the decision. She could have talked to Pickrell, Edenso or any other tribal council member and given input regarding this issue. If we change every motion and resolution based on the criteria Ms. James uses we would be changing things every year, based on whom it is that brought something to the table. Ms. Pickrell and Ms. Edenso were entitled to bring business to the table and I respect the fact that they worked on improvements to KIC's Ordinances. We would be in a lot better shape if our present block voting four brought forward legitimate issues that helped our tribe to operate. Maybe you should ask them: "what business have you brought to the council table?" We are all elected by the membership to make decisions for the tribe. A Referendum vote by the membership does nothing but tie the tribal council's hands from making business more efficient. Also just because a tribal council member is elected does not mean that they are automatically qualified. It takes years of experience, reading of the KIC constitution and Ordinances, training, and listening and talking to other tribal council members both male and female and drawing on their experience, knowledge and education. I would question the qualifications of a tribal council member who says, "I am the CEO's superior and I want to see her contract." Ms. James can so easily throw out the CEO's work on the Rules and Procedure. How could someone with just three months experience challenge our CEO who has 25 years experience as an administrator and writing legislation in the form of resolutions, ordinances, policies and procedures?

At the May 2004 meeting I had the TERO ordinance on the agenda, as it needs a lot of work. This Tribal Employment Rights Office should be a part of our tribe. With our housing project in the planning stages we must make sure that our people are employed on this project. There is a lot of important business the Tribal Council ought to be working on to bring better service to KIC's members. All this bickering amongst us just distracts from positive work.

Merle Nancy Hawkins
Vice-President Ketchikan Indian Community Tribe
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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