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Experience Cherokee culture at Har-Ber Village Museum on November 5

Experience Cherokee culture at Har-Ber Village Museum on November 5
Two Election Commission clerks tendered their resignations on Feb. 27, with one employee citing a negative work environment and lack of communication from the commission and election director as the reasons for her resigning.

Clerk III Elizabeth Catron and Clerk II Alexi Poteet on Feb. 27 tendered their resignations to commissioners via email. At a special meeting the next day, the EC voted to accept both resignations with effective dates of March 13.

As of publication, the resignations would leave the Election Commission Office with Clerk I Kendal Bishop and Election Director Connie Parnell. During a special meeting on Feb. 16, EC Administrator Brooke Tillison submitted her resignation citing job stress. Her last day was Feb. 24. The EC is comprised of Carolyn Allen, Martha Calico, Shawna Calico, Teresa Hart and Pamela Sellers. Harvey Chaffin serves as its attorney.

Catron stated in her resignation “due to a lack of communication and other issues from the commission and election director she was unable to effectively perform her job.”

“I feel there is nothing more I can do, and resigning is the only option I have left,” she stated in a Feb. 27 letter to the EC. “I have truly enjoyed my time here making a difference for our Cherokee voters.”

In another letter, she cites an example of lack of communication when not receiving any notification that challenges to Tribal Council candidates had been filed with the Election Commission Office. She states she wasn’t informed until the Cherokee Phoenix called the office to confirm five challenges.

“(A)Lexi (Poteet) and I have not been informed about anything though the entire contest process. We were not informed that a candidate had come in to withdraw, I personally didn’t find out until I seen it on Facebook,” she stated. “As we begin this election cycle I feel that it is imperative that the whole office staff know what is going on as we move forward to other deadlines.”

She added that it “looks really bad on this office” when employees are not informed of the goings-on regarding the election processes.

In a letter to the Tribal Council, Catron stated that because of the negative work environment the workplace had become unbearable.

“The commission held a work session because there was tension in the office, and we were told to lay our feelings and concerns out so they could be resolved. In doing this it only made the commission pull away more and solved nothing,” Catron stated.

During a second work session, Catron stated, the discussion wasn’t as open as the previous session, but instead was more threatening because the “main thing discussed with staff was how we were at-will employees and could be let go at any time.”

EC Chairwoman Shawna Calico responded only saying that the commission is focused on the upcoming June election and is working to ensure that it provides a smooth election for the candidates and Cherokee Nation citizens.

“The Election Commission has maintained the duties of the office as well as having accomplished successful general, runoff and special elections for the past three years,” she said. “It is the policy of the commission not to comment on personnel matters. Our main goal is to continue to serve the Cherokee Nation citizens by conducting honest and accurate elections. We have full confidence in the commission and staff to carry out a successful election for the 2017 election cycle.”

The Cherokee Phoenix requested comment from Parnell, but as of publication she had not responded.

Poteet said she’d enjoyed her time with the commission, but felt that it was “time to move on to other things.”
News Source: Cherokee Phoenix

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