Martin, Bryan elected to PCI Tribal Council
Published 3:39 am Wednesday, June 7, 2006
By By Janet Little Cooper
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians Tribal Council has two new faces and one returning member following the Tribal election Saturday.
General council members, 18 years and older began casting their ballots at 8 a.m. for three candidates out of nine running for Tribal Council. The polls remained active until closing at 7 p.m. General council members learned the results of the election around 8:30 p.m. Saturday night.
"We had a very good turn out this year for the tribal elections," PCI Community Relations Director Sharon Delmar said. "We had one more vote this year than last. We had a total of 499 votes cast on Saturday and 317 registered as absentee votes bringing it to a total of 816 votes."
The nine candidates vying for the three open spots on the Tribal Council were: Stephanie A. Bryan, Peggy Rolin Couch, Helen Hallman, Ronnie Jackson, "Poncho" Douglas Kelley, Keith Martin, Daniel McGhee, John Arthur McGhee and Garvis Sells.
The Tribal Council is set up with a nine-member council that is elected by the General Council for three-year staggered terms.
Daniel McGhee, who currently serves on the council, was re-elected while current council member Helen Hallman was not re-elected.
"I am honored and thankful that the people supported me in re-electing me as their Tribal Council member," McGhee said. "I look forward to being a part of the continued success of the Tribe. Although, I will miss the council members who will no longer be serving, I am excited to learn what new ideas our new council members bring to the table."
Stephanie A. Bryan and Keith Martin were both elected to fill the remaining two seats.
This was Bryan's second year to run for the Tribal Council and she is excited about the challenge that lies before her as she takes her seat on the council.
"I basically ran because of my love for the people," Bryan said. "I am thankful for those who supported me giving me this opportunity to work for the people of the Tribe. If we didn't have the General Council, there would be no need for the Tribal Council.
Every decision that I make will be for the people. We have a lot of economic growth occurring and are in need of good quality decisions to be made. The number of people who voted astounds me. I am absolutely thrilled at the number of people who showed up to vote Saturday."
Poarch native Keith Martin is also excited about the opportunity to serve his Tribal community.
"It is exciting for me because I was raised on Indian School Road right in downtown Poarch," Martin said. "The Tribe has come a lot further than we ever dreamed it would in those days. We have made some mistakes in the past, but hopefully we have learned from them and are headed in the right direction. One of my main goals is to get benefits for Tribal members who live outside the five-county radius and also to members in Northwest Florida.
"A Tribal member from Michigan called me at 6 a.m. the other morning to congratulate me. His phone call was an eye-opener for me to know that Tribal members that far away are watching us. We are growing by leaps and bounds and I hope that I will continue to be along for the ride."
Bryan, Martin and McGhee will join Rodney Exum, Patricia Hodges, Eddie Tullis, Arthur Mothershed and Robbie McGhee on the Tribal Council. Buford Rolin, who was vice-chairman, will continue in the position as acting Tribal Chairman in the wake of Chairman Fred L. McGhee's death three weeks ago.
"The three new council members will be sworn in at the next Tribal meeting on June 12," Delmar said. "After they are sworn in, the council will then elect the new committee of administrators. The only available seats for that are of course the chairman and the secretary."
The Chairman is the Chief Executive Officer of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and presides over the Council meetings. The Chairman is also responsible for implementing all ordinances, resolutions and directives of the council and the secretary maintains the records and files of the Tribal Council.
A few of the powers of the Tribal Council as a whole include preserving Tribal lands or other Tribal assets; engaging in business that will further the economic well being of the members of the Tribe, and acting on behalf of the tribe with federal, state, and local governments.
The Tribal Council holds meetings twice a month on the first Tuesday of the month and the third Sunday. These meetings are open to the public. A written record is kept of the council's proceedings as well and is open for inspection by all members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.