Two members of the Uintah and Ouray Tribal Business Committee have been voted out of office in the first recall election in the history of the sprawling eastern Utah reservation.
"This is the first time on this reservation that recalls have been carried through to completion," tribal chairman Luke Duncan said Friday, after business committee members Irene Cuch and Wilford Conetah were defeated.Cuch, tribal vice chairwoman, was voted out of office by the Uintah Band 60-28, while the Uncompahgre Band defeated Conetah 131-24.
In the two recall elections by the separate bands, slightly more than 30 percent of the registered voters turned out for the election. Tribal law requires that at least 30 percent of the eligible voters cast ballots in order for a recall election to be successful.
Duncan declared the two seats vacant and said nominations would open Saturday and close Wednesday night.
The recall election was the second attempt this year to oust business committee members. Three months ago, a recall of five of six business committee members was attempted, but sponsors failed to get enough signatures to force an election.
This time, organizers were successful in getting Cuch's and Conetah's names on the ballot after charging that the pair failed to fulfill administrative duties and failed to regularly attend daily business meetings. Both had denied the allegations.
It was unclear whether the two ousted officials could run again in a new election.