by Ryan Greendeer, Legislative Public Relations Officer
The Legislative Finance Committee allotted more funds for the December 11th General Council meeting for transportation. The appropriation was based upon the 2019 cost for buses bringing tribal members from distant areas that might not have otherwise been able to attend. General Council Advocate Cari Fay said there were no current plans to provide bus transportation for tribal members in order to mitigate close contact. The 2020 Annual General Council meeting was held as a virtual-only option even after an Attorney General opinion was issued declaring the practice unlawful without the General Council itself adopting a bylaw that broadens the definition to allow for virtual attendance. That meeting did not make quorum and no votes were held.
The Special General Council held in September did not attain quorum but organizers were unable to contract buses. That meeting was held on the same day that the 2021 Annual General Council was initially called by the President but was later cancelled with little reason other than “due to the pandemic”; and then suing multiple tribal members to stop any planning for the meeting. That litigation is ongoing. That meeting saw one unofficial vote tally, on the question of whether to remove the President. Of the 1,139 tribal members voting, an overwhelming 93.85% – or 1,007 – voted in favor of removal, while 66 votes were tallied for no removal and the same number abstaining.
General Council Advocate Cari Fay also disclosed that they did not intend to contract for electronic voting devices, as the Wisconsin Center has an app that will be used for voting. Tribal members will be required to have a smartphone or similar device with the downloaded app in order to vote. Eligible tribal members were provided with electronic devices to cast votes in recent General Council meetings.
Other frenzied discussion at the Finance Committee meeting included questioning on the lack of planning and public meetings. Tribal members pointed out that there is no contract engaged for holding the amended Annual General Council with only 45 days before the meeting. Cari Fay was asked why tribal members could not attend planning meetings. She responded that they haven’t held any meetings and that planning has been conducted using emails.
The Office of General Council Branch Facebook page has put a call out for volunteers and to remind tribal members that resolutions must be submitted to Cari Fay for legal review prior to being considered at the General Council meeting: “Volunteers are needed to assist with Registration and Payout, if the budget allows. Also, to assist Tribal Elders. Brittany Greendeer (D3) is in charge of the Volunteer list, please contact her via FB Messenger or at email@example.com. REMINDER: Turn in Resolutions at the following: GCB@ho-chunk.com Cfay@ho-chunk.com Resolutions need to receive legal review before being presented. The Legal Reviewer will contact the Resolution Author(s).”