Petition process questioned after GTC agenda gets deleted



By Nate Wisneski - Kalihwisaks 

The General Tribal Council (GTC) took the rare action of deleting the entire agenda during the July 8, 2013 Special GTC meeting.

The agenda featured three petitions surrounding child laws within the Oneida Appeals Commission along with a referendum question asking if tribal members should be allowed to withdraw their custody cases from the Oneida Child Support Program and move them to the County system. The petitions were submitted to the tribal Secretary’s office in February of this year.

The GTC felt the agenda items were already addressed when they took action by adopting the proposed Judiciary Law during the GTC Annual Meeting, Monday, January 7. The Judiciary Law establishes a court system with two branches, the trial court and court of appeals. The new judicial system will start accepting cases November 1, 2014. The amendment to delete the entire agenda was made by Councilman Brandon Stevens. 

The move has some asking for the current GTC petition process to be reviewed.

A GTC meeting can be called by 50 verified voters serving a written notice or by the tribal Chairman.

GTC member Kaylynn Gresham felt petitioners along with the petition process should be examined to make better.

I just think that we need to start looking for options on how to fix things instead of complaining about what is wrong, I realize that everyone has a story and wants to be heard. Many people are not satisfied with how things are but its difficult to support something when there are no options of how to fix a problem. I believe that if people leave their personal issues out of it we would get much more accomplished. Had the petitioners come with some sort of potential solutions I believe more people would have been in support of staying at the meeting and listening to possible solutions,” said Gresham. 

“Perhaps it is time to consider changing the petition process to require more signatures, although that would require that we amend our constitution, the 50 signature requirement was established when the 75 member to create a quorum was established. As a result of the large number of members that now attend the meetings it may be time to consider an increase of the number or required signatures to call a special meeting. If more signatures are required it demonstrates that there are a larger number of members in the community that support an issue. I believe that if the number was increased it would likely alleviate problems in the future so that what occurred last night does not occur again in the future,” she added.