Oneida Business Committee Chair Tina Danforth Admits Election Decision Could Violate Election Law [UPDATE]

Oneida Eye Publisher Leah Dodge made the motion at the Sunday October 26, 2014 General Tribal Council Meeting of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin for GTC to adopt the option of leaving the unoccupied Oneida Business Committee position vacant in order to save the Tribe up to $500,000:

OBC Chair Tina Delgado-Danforth refused to acknowledge Dodge’s motion, despite the fact that the option of leaving the position vacant was included among the six options outlined in the GTC Meeting packet as approved by OBC.

Instead, GTC voted to address the vacancy on the Oneida Business Committee by holding a caucus at the October 26 GTC Meeting and to hold a Special Election on Saturday November 22, 2014.

Nineteen GTC members were nominated as candidates for the open position and sixteen were present to accept their nominations.

GTC members have until noon on Monday November 3, 2014 to file a petition with the OBC Secretary’s Office to be included on the ballot as candidates, and all nominees must file a formal application with the Secretary’s Office by November 3, 2014.

When Dodge questioned Delgado-Danforth after the conclusion of the GTC Meeting about the legality of holding an election for an OBC position without holding a primary as required by the Oneida Tribal Election Law if there are sixteen or more candidates, OBC Chair Delgado-Danforth admitted that doing so would violate the Election Law, and then shrugged.

GTC members can file an injunction with the Oneida Appeals Commission against holding an election for the vacant OBC position without holding a primary if there are sixteen or more candidates as is required by the Election Law, which states at 2.12:

2.12-1. When a primary is required under 2.12-2, it shall be held on a Saturday at least sixty (60) calendar days prior to the election.

2.12-2. There shall be a primary election for Business Committee positions whenever there are three (3) or more candidates for any officer positions or sixteen (16) or more candidates for the at-large council member positions. …

(b) The fifteen (15) candidates receiving the highest number of votes cast for the at-large council member positions shall be placed on the ballot.

GTC members could also file an injunction against implementation of the Special Election results after the election is held due to the illegality of holding an OBC election without a primary if there are sixteen or more candidates on the ballot.

UPDATE: According to the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin’s Facebook page the sixteen GTC members who accepted their nominations to fill the OBC vacancy were (in alphabetical order):

  1. Cathy Bachuber
  2. Linda “Buffy” Dallas
  3. Clifford Danforth
  4. Tom Espinosa
  5. Amanda Gerondale
  6. David “Fleet” Jordan
  7. Sayokla Kindness
  8. Kirby Metoxen
  9. Mike Mousseau
  10. Judith Nicholas
  11. Linda Nockideneh
  12. Mark A. Powless, Sr.
  13. Corinne Robelia-Zhuckkahos
  14. Dan G. Skenandore
  15. Douglas Skenandore
  16. Danelle Wilson


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