CRIT Treasurer faces recall DENNIS WE...

CRIT Treasurer faces recall DENNIS WELSH JR [Thursday!] 12-31-09

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Parker, AZ

#1 Dec 30, 2009
CRIT Treasurer faces recall DENNIS WELSH JR [Thursday!

Body: CRIT Treasurer faces recall
By Joan M. Travis
Wednesday, December 30, 2009 9:11 AM MST

Members of the Colorado River Indian Tribes who are eligible voters will go to the polls Thursday to determine if Tribal Treasurer Dennis Welsh Jr. remains on council or is recalled.

Since July 2007, tribal members have had three recall attempts on council members. The third attempt to recall then Councilwoman Daphne Hill-Poolaw succeeded in a Dec. 13, 2008, recall election.

A week prior at the Dec. 6, 2008 General Election, tribal voters ousted all incumbents except Valerie Welsh-Tahbo.

Dennis Welsh Jr. and Richard Armstrong, as well as Hill-Poolaw, were elected Dec. 2, 2006.

Welsh was appointed interim treasurer when Hill-Poolaw was removed from the treasurer's position by Tribal Council action Sept. 2, 2008. The following day, a petition was taken out on Hill-Poolaw for recall.

Welsh was appointed Sept. 28, 2008, to the treasurer's position by the new council.

In the October 2008 issue of the CRIT newsletter, Welsh published a financial summary of the Tribes. CRIT had never published such a detailed financial account.

Finances were often a bone of contention with tribal members and previous tribal councils.

Welsh and staff determined Sept. 30, 2008, CRIT would have a shortfall of $1.4 million.

Also in the summary, the Tribe had two outstanding loans that totaled $29 million.

Welsh stated in the report "... CRIT Tribal Council must begin accurate, responsive budget planning for 2009 and reduce government spending immediately."

Vinton Tahbo took out the recall petition on Welsh Oct. 20. In Tahbo's general statement of reasons for recall he said Welsh neglected his duty and there was gross misconduct. Tahbo claimed there was mismanagement of tribal monies.

Welsh responded with statements in a letter to the editor, "... we've worked hard to clean up the financial mess that was left by past treasurers and councils. We are conducting long overdue audits that haven't been completed since 2005."

Welsh added the new council was able to curtail spending and give tribal employees a 5 percent cost of living allowance, which hasn't been done since 2002.

Tribal members vote Dec. 31; polls will be open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. District 1 residents (north of Indian School Road) vote at the Tribal Administration Building; and District 2 residents (south of Indian School Road) vote at the Head Start Center.

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