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Tribal Treasurer talks about recall vote

"SUQUAMISH - Amidst allegations that she has lost her ability to lead the Suquamish Tribe as treasurer, Georgia George Rye plans to keep a positive outlook on the recall meeting set for one week from now. I plan to keep my chin up because I know I have not done anything wrong, she said. Yet she said the recall election and hearing set for Jan. 13 is a terribly sad day for the Suquamish nation. Rye has served as treasurer for the Suquamish Tribal Council for nearly three years. Her seat comes up for election March 18. According to financial audits conducted by an independent company, the tribe has received a clean bill of financial health during George's tenure. But a group of tribal elders has spent the past few months gathering signatures calling for the removal of Rye because tribal members have lost faith and confidence in her to represent the tribe's members on the council. The elders' petition, which has been verified as having signatures of more than 25 percent of the eligible voters in the tribe, has sparked a recall election. Guidelines have been set for the election and a General Council meeting in which Rye will defend herself against claims. I have fulfilled my duties, she said. According to the Suquamish Constitution and Bylaws the Tribal Council Treasurer is charged with overseeing all of the funds of the Tribal Council and must sign all checks issued. He or she must report on funds spent and received if requested to do so by the Tribal Council at the annual General Council meeting. The constitution also stipulates causes for automatic removal from office are death, resignation or conviction of a felony in any court, which do not apply to Rye. But, members of the tribe can also remove council members through a petition process and a special election. Accor- ding to the Suquamish Constitution, at least 25 percent of the eligible voters in the tribe must vote in the special election Jan. 13. At least 154 ballots need to be cast in the election. To vote in the General Council election a person must be at least 18 and an enrolled member of the Suquamish tribe. It will be a shallow victory at a great expense, Rye said. "

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