• 82°

21 vying for Tribal seats

A wide field of candidates are vying for the chance to be named chairman of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians as election for officials with the Tribe nears. In an election set for June 4, two balloted candidates and two write-in candidates are hoping to garner enough votes to win the seat.

Incumbent Buford L. Rolin is hoping to retain his seat as chairman of PBCI while former chairman Eddie L. Tullis is hoping to regain a seat he lost in 2005 after serving nearly two decades in the spot.

Rolin was elected to serve out a term as chairman left open when Fred McGhee suddenly passed away in 2005. He was elected to an additional term after the 2006 election. At the time Rolin won the position as chairman, voters elected at-large members to serve on the council. Following the election, council members elected the member who would serve as the chairman for the Tribe.

Tullis began his stint as chairman of the Tribe in 1976. With the exception of one year during his time in the seat, Tullis retained the position until McGhee was named chairman in 2005.

Also on the ballot as write-in candidates for the chairman’s position are former council member Berry Ross and William “Bubba” Bailey.

According to published reports, Ross resigned his position after the PBCI Tribal Council called a special meeting last month to address the impeachment of Ross. The impeachment was at issue after the Council had censured Ross for a violation of the Tribe’s personnel policies and procedures. Further actions by Ross were considered by the Council to be unbecoming of a Tribal official and was worthy of impeachment proceedings. Ross, along with Council members, said it was in the best interest of the Tribe to avoid the impeachment process by having Ross resign from his position. The Council accepted his resignation at the close of the meeting last month. Since Ross’s term was unexpired, the Council, by way of guidelines in the voting process, named Helen Hallman to complete the term, which will be up for re-election next week. Hallman received the second highest number of votes in the election that landed Ross a position on the Council.

Until the last two elections, Tribal members had only been responsible for electing at-large members of the council with council members electing/appointing officers for the group. In 2009, voting practices changed allowing Tribal members the first opportunity to elect members of the executive staff rather than having those positions appointed by council members. Offices of treasurer, secretary and chairman are not elected rather than appointed positions. The 2011 election will be the first opportunity for registered voters with PBCI to elect the highest government position for the Tribe.

Two positions on the council are up for election in a regular rotation of seats up for consideration. With the resignation of Ross, a third seat will now be up for grabs in the upcoming election.

Incumbents Arthur Mothershed and Garvis Sells will face 15 additional candidates who have aspirations to serve on the Council.

Vying for the seats are DeWitt Carter, Clayton Coon, Helen Hallman, Emma Ruth Madison Hogan, Sandy Fretwell Hollinger, Edie Jackson, Daniel Winston Lambert, Paul Lundy, Eialeash “Leasha” Martin, David Morris, Arthur Ray Patrick Jr., Barbara Stephens, Debra Rolin Strickland, William L. Vickery, and Carolyn McGhee White.

Polls will be open at the Poarch S.A.I.L. Center from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. with walk-in voting already being conducted.