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Petition looks to recall Quinault Tribal Executive Officers

November 13, 2013

The Quinault Indian Nation General Council will vote on Saturday whether or not to recall President Fawn Sharp, Vice President Andrew Mail, Treasurer Larry Ralston, and Secretary Latosha Underwood.

The meeting is scheduled for Saturday at 10 am in the Taholah School Gymnasium. This meeting is for “Enrolled Quinault Tribal Members Only”, with the official notice stating that no exceptions will be made.

Both the meeting and the official petition are available only to Tribal Members. A request for the official petition by KXRO from the Quinault Indian Nation was denied. In documents obtained from an anonymous source, 56 tribal members signed the petition to bring the recall vote.

Multiple allegations are made against the Executive Officers.

  • In the official documents, “any officer may be removed for any reason by vote of the General Council on a recall petition”. According to the petition, the Tribal administration has been “negligent and failed to prioritize and protect the Quinault Indian Nations treaty right to fish” by not hiring experts to research and verify established tribal areas.
  • Elected officials are accused of violating their “Oath of Office” by failing to enforce Quinault Indian Nations Land Use Law by violating codes in the construction at Pt. Grenville, now named Hunishu Point, and proceeding on projects without obtaining permits.
  • Violations of Tribal Code not being enforced in regards to Tribal Member rights to legal counsel are cited. In a resolution by the Quinault Business Council(QBC) in August, allegations of unlicensed attorneys providing legal representation to individuals before Tribal Court were addressed. In this resolution the Committee said that they would not tolerate a disregard of their resolution, rescinding approval of the Court Advocate Program. According to Tribal Code, every defendant has the right to counsel of their choosing as long as they have passed the bar of any state, and other qualifications, but makes no mention regarding license.
  • The petition states that General Council has failed to address items placed on the agenda by Tribal members, saying that the QBC has “failed to enact numerous Annual general Session Issues placed on the agenda by the people”.
  • Also included is a statement saying that “The Quinault Business Committee has utilized the power of their office to manipulate and control administration staff”. It states that this has resulted in a large number of staff leaving and that the Business Committee hired new staff without following policy and procedures.
  • The final allegation on the petition is specifically in regards to Executive Director Fawn Sharp. It states that while she receives a salary for the position, she is away from her office “for more than 80% of the year, resulting in an unstable Quinault Indian Nation Administration.”

At the meeting, any of the executive officers up for a recall will have an opportunity to state their case before the General Council prior to a vote to recall. If recalled, nominations will be taken from the floor for members to complete the terms of the offices.

If a quorum is not reached during the meeting, the recall is dismissed and no new recall may be filed for a year.

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Categories: Harbor News
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