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McGhee elected chairman of tribal council

By By Sherry Digmon
Advance Staff Writer
Eddie Tullis' 23-year tenure as chairman of the Poarch Creek Indian Tribal Council ended Sunday.
While Tullis was re-elected to another term on the council earlier this month, he declined to have his name placed in nomination for another term as chairman.
Fred Lee McGhee, who was elected to the council last year, was elected chairman at the council meeting Sunday afternoon.
The nine-person council nominated two people for the position. McGhee was nominated by Pearline McGhee, no immediate relation. Buford Rolin was nominated by Ronnie Jackson.
The nominees were asked to leave the room and the remaining seven council members cast secret ballots. Four voted for McGhee, two for Rolin, one abstained.
McGhee, who is retired, said Tuesday he had not expected to be elected but was anxious to serve.
McGhee said he has no plans to make drastic changes in the tribe's direction.
McGhee didn't wish to comment on his intentions toward getting a casino on tribal property.
Much of Tullis' efforts were directed at securing gaming for the tribe, especially when the chairman's position became full-time.
Tullis served as chairman of the council for 23 years. He retired from Monsanto in 1993 and began working full-time for the tribe shortly thereafter.
Tullis plans to continue his involvement in national affairs, serving on several national organizations, committees and boards.
Last year, a recall effort to remove Tullis as chairman failed, enabling him to finish his term as chairman and to seek another term on the council.
Council members are usually elected for three-year terms. However, the 1998 election was invalid due to low voter turn-out. One-third of the eligible tribal members must vote for the election to be declared valid.
The three tribal members who were up for re-election in 1998 continued to serve until the 1999 election in which six seats, rather than three, were filled.
The three candidates who got the most votes in 1999 were elected for three-year terms. The next three highest candidates were elected to two-year terms. McGhee was in the latter group.
Under normal circumstances, he would be serving the second year of a three-year term. Instead McGhee is serving the final year of his term and will be up for re-election in June 2001.