The Petersburg Indian Association has a new Chair and one new board member as well as three returning members. According to last Friday’s election results released by the Tribal Government this week, Ronelle Beardslee won a one-year term as Chair and Christina Sakamoto won a one-year seat on the PIA Board. Both were unopposed on the ballot. The three, open two-year terms went to Mary Ann Rainey, Chris Lopez and Derek Lopez, according to the PIA. Rainey and Chris Lopez were first appointed last fall. That was after four previous board members had quit with concerns over management of the Tribe’s finances and federal roads grants.
Derek Lopez is just finishing his term as chair and did not run for re-election to that post. Instead, he won a 2-year board seat as a write-in candidate.
There were three other candidates on the ballot for those board seats. Two of them, Brenda Louise and Diane Randolf, formally filed a challenge to of the results in that race. Louise said she called for a recount because of what she claimed were irregularities in the handling of absentee ballots, the ballot box and the fact that the actual vote numbers were not made available by the required time after the election.
According to PIA assistant administrator Barb King, a PIA committee this week reviewed that challenge. In an email to KFSK Thursday, King reported that the group found PIA rules do not require the election committee to post poll numbers, only the results showing the winners. She said that was done immediately following the election at designated areas. According to king, the committee also found that the ballots and ballot box were handled properly, contrary to claims made in the challenge.
KFSK requested the vote numbers as well but did not receive them. The PIA has not yet announced a meeting date to swear in the new members.
The PIA is the federally recognized tribal government that represents about 400 members in Petersburg. Along with administering a variety of programs for its members, the PIA employs around 60 people and has several business endeavors in town including an apartment building, a recycling collection operation, and a newly purchased and renovated restaurant. The PIA also helps to plow, maintain and improve local roads and walkways throughout town.