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Removal petition deemed invalid

Scott Csernyik

5/30/2002 12:00:00 AM

A removal petition filed to remove District 2 Tribal Council Representative Connie Freiburger has been disallowed because it lacked the required number of valid signatures.

Junior Isaac, 2660 Worth Road in Standish, filed the petition on May 20 with the Tribal Clerk's Office after the form was issued on March 26. Twenty-one individuals signed the Saganing petition, which called for Freiburger's removal for "avoiding her constitutional responsibility to advocate for her district as a council member by failing to act on Tribal enrollment. Her only acts were to cancel a functioning enrollment process and having a "stay" until some unknown time when some unknown action will be taken."

To be considered valid, the petition needed to have signatures from 30 percent of the district's eligible voters. As of May 20, the district had 39 eligible voters, meaning the petition needed to have 12 valid signatures. Of the 21 signatures submitted, 16 were voided due to failure to vote in the last two years and one for inconsistent information.

"Based on the review by the Tribal Clerk's Department, the petition you submitted lacks the required number of valid signatures to remove Connie Freiburger from the Tribal Council," stated a May 22 letter from Tribal Clerk Terri Rueckert to Isaac.

Rueckert said it's imperative that members continue their democratic participation.

"This is exactly the reason why people should participate in Tribal elections," she said. "It keeps a member's status active for situations like this."

Freiburger said in a May 29 interview with the Tribal Observer she is aware of issues before the Tribe and how they may affect certain individuals.

"As the Tribal Council representative for District 2, there are many challenges before the government," she explained. "I have to take into consideration what is right for everyone as a whole. There are no quick solutions for certain issues before the Tribe. As always, my door is open and I will do my best to represent District 2."

Isaac filed a challenge on May 29 calling for an exclusive review of the removal petition by Tribal Council on the matter, as provided in Ordinance No. 4, Section 3 (d)(7).