Using precedent of prior years' chaotic general council meetings, the Comanche Nation administration has scheduled the general election for May 13, to include two yes/no questions and the proposed $62.8 million fiscal year 2017-2018 line-item budget.
The tribe's chairman released a statement on to why resolutions of unresolved issues will not be continued at a previously scheduled May 20 meeting, which has instead been canceled.
Comanche voters will go to polling sites May 13 to vote for members of the Comanche Business Committee, the budget and two questions pertaining to the distribution of extra funds, as well as about separating from the KCA Land Use Committee.
Comanche Business Committee nominees are :
• Secretary/treasurer: Audrey Whitefeather, Robert Tippeconnie.
• Seat No. 3: Ronald Red Elk, Darrell Kosechequetah, Tina Cook.
• Seat No. 4: Clyde Narcomey, Jack Codopony.
Question 1 "8 Million Dollars (2016 EXCESS) to be divided equally to each individual enrolled Comanche Nation member in the form of a dividend check?" Yes/No.
Question 2 "To have business committee to formulate a one-year fact finding mission be presented in 2018 as to separation from the KCA land use committee?" Yes/No.
The decision to put the line-item budget on the ballot is a change from what appeared would be the case at the April general council meeting.
Advocates for reinstating the Comanche National College into the budget were told by Chairman William Nelson the matter would be discussed at the end of the meeting. During a chaotic end to the meeting brought on by technical internet difficulties, according to Nelson, the matter of allowing the general council to determine whether to put the college's budget back onto the line-item would be discussed at a May 20 special council meeting.
By scheduling the budget vote before then, the point has become moot.
The decision to hold the election before the hearing caught the college's board of trustees at a weak spot.
"We do not know whether we have any legal recourse whatsoever, but I asked the board a few days ago whether we should seek legal counsel advice on the issue to which they agreed," said Augustine McCaffery, chair of the college's board of trustees. "It may be futile, but as least we would know one way or the other."
In Nelson's statement regarding what's to follow, he said history has shown that "disorderly conduct and mean-spirited insults and chaotic atmosphere by those who came to this meeting for that purpose and nothing more" would prove disruptive. Prior meetings from 2007, 2010 and 2012 provide precedent for sending the issues to the ballot.
Other issues that were scheduled for the May 20 meeting have been resolved, according to Nelson.
Of the three tribal administrator nominees Will Owens, Donnie Ramos and current Administrator Jimmy Arterberry Nelson said Ramos was disqualified due to employee policy and Owens is disqualified due to four counts adopted in January 2017 months after his removal from the position. That leaves the position to Arterberry.