Governmental Services Division Director Don White Dishonors Elders & Veterans

Before the May 10, 2014 Primary Election signs posted in the AJRCCC Congregate Meal Site said: ‘NO Political Campaigning Allowed.’

No Political Campaigning Allowed

Donation Box
When an Oneida elder who’s a client of the meal services asked Elderly Services Director Florence Petri to provide a copy of the applicable policy the elder was given a photocopy of a page from the ‘Wisconsin Aging Network Manual of Policies, Procedures & Technical Assistance‘ with underlining in a section regarding the Hatch Act which states:

The Hatch Act restricts the political activity of executive branch employees of the federal government. The Hatch Act also applies to the political activity of certain state and local government employees. Covered employees under the act are persons prinicipally employed by state or local executive agencies in connection with programs financed in whole or in part by federal loans or grants. The act does not apply to the political activity of persons employed by educational institutions. Some statutes make Hatch Act provisions applicable to other categories of individuals, e.g., persons employed by private, non-profit organizations that plan, develop and coordinate Head Start and certain types of federal assistance. Most employers of aging units and AAA’s are covered under the Hatch Act.

The elder noted to Florence Petri that the statement was clear that the Hatch Act applies only to employees – not clients – of the Tribal elder programs, yet the signs have remained in place for weeks.

Were Florence Petri and Don White – or those who give them their marching orders – concerned that Tribal employees might improperly engage in official campaiging regarding the July 12, 2014 General Tribal Election? Of course not.

Did BC Chair Ed Delgado direct Don White to post these inappropriate signs?

It is very obvious that these signs are a shameful attempt to discourage political discourse and thereby infringe upon the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights as well as Article VI of the Oneida Tribal Constitution which states:

All members of the Tribe shall be accorded equal opportunities to participate in the economic resources and activities of the tribe. All members of the tribe may enjoy, without hindrance, freedom of worship, conscience, speech, press, assembly, association and due process of law, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

Speaking of ‘freedom of worship,’ you’ll notice that in the 2nd picture above there is a flyer to the left of the ‘No Political Campaigning Allowed’ sign advertising an event called ‘Puppet Idol’ at a local church, yet someone somehow decided that a sign needed to be posted against ‘campaigning.’

Today a letter signed by twelve Oneida elders was given to Florence Petri, her supervisor Don White, and Don White’s direct supervisor BC Chair Ed Delgado, opposing the unsubtle attempt to scare elders into keeping their mouths shut (names are redacted pending permission to publish):

Oneida Eye has learned that even more signatures are being gathered and some Tribe members have discussed contacting the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) regarding this transparent attempt to discourage political discourse amongst elders or with visitors to the elder congregant meal program, along with unexplained ‘errors’ and improper actions by the Election Board during the May 10, 2014 Primary Election and previous Tribal elections.

Despite the lip service given at the Friday May 23, 2014 Oneida Code Talkers Day ceremony, these unseemly signs demonstrate how the Oneida Tribal Government and its Governmental Services Director actually feel about the rights of Tribal members and the service of veterans who fought & died to protect freedom of political speech.

The current Business Committee and those who will be inaugurated in August 2014 need to know that Oneida Tribe members won’t tolerate elected officials, division directors, nor program directors infringing on their rights, and they should realize that General Tribal Council members will take self-defensive action to protect their freedoms and liberty.


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