Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mohegan Tribal Election Finalists

Feather News

The following installment of the Tribe In The Media is an article in today's The Day newspaper regarding last night's tribal council election at Mohegan.

Bozsum is among 10 finalists for tribal council
Mohegans to hold balloting for 5 spots
By Brian Hallenbeck
The Day
May 28, 2009

Mohegan - Five incumbents, including Chairman Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum, are among the 10 finalists for the five available seats on the Mohegan Tribal Council, the tribe announced Wednesday night.

All five councilors whose four-year terms expire this year will seek re-election in secret balloting over the next several weeks. In addition to Bozsum, the candidates are Lynn Malerba, the council's vice chairwoman; Bill Quidgeon, treasurer; James Gessner, recording secretary; and Mark Hamilton.

The terms of the other four members of the nine-member council extend to 2011.

Also named Wednesday from among a field of more than 40 tribal members who vied in primary balloting in recent weeks were Mike Bozsum, the chairman's younger brother; John Henry Clark, a former chairman of the tribe's Council of Elders; Ken Davison, who maintains Feather News, a blog devoted to tribal matters; and Kathy Regan-Pyne and Mark Sperry, both of whom have worked for the tribe.

In a statement, the tribe listed the 10 finalists in alphabetical order and provided almost no other information, including the number of votes each candidate won.

”It is part of Mohegan custom and tradition to keep the details of the election results solely within the tribe,” said Joe Smith, a tribal member and manager of public affairs for the tribal government.

Davison, who has a background in accounting, often analyzes tribal finances on his blog. He also has waged a battle in Mohegan Tribal Court over the tribe's requirement that tribal members vote for a full slate of candidates in tribal elections. Davison, according to his blog, asserted that members should only have to vote for candidates they prefer and that requiring them to vote for more “is, among other things, a violation of free speech rights.”

The tribal court sided with the tribe and its election committee in a ruling this month, Davison reported on Feather News.

Earlier this year, the tribe approved and then rescinded a controversial freedom-of-information ordinance that would have imposed limits on the information that could be disseminated on blogs like Davison's. A new version of the ordinance is subject to an upcoming referendum vote among tribal members.

The results of balloting in the council race will be announced Aug. 30. The five winning candidates will be sworn in Oct. 5.

The council, in addition to governing the tribe, serves as the managing board of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, which operates Mohegan Sun, the resort casino that employs nearly 10,000 people.