Two new faces elected to Algonquin council
Eganville Leader - Wednesday March 30, 2005 - Page 1


By Debbi Christinck

Pikwakanagan -- The newly elected council will have several incumbents and two new faces following the elections last Saturday.

In many ways, the council remains unchanged from last term. Incumbent Chief Kirby Whiteduck was acclaimed and four out of the five Councillors who ran for re-election were successful at the polls.

The other two members of council include a former chief and lead land claim negotiator. The other new member of council has not been a councillor before.

Jim Meness, who is an incumbent councillor, led at the polls with 185 votes. He was followed by incumbent Ritchie Sarazin with 169 votes and newcomer to council, Karen Kutschke with 167. incumbent councillor Jerry Lavalley was also re-elected with 166 markers as was incumbent councillor Sherry Lee Kohoko with 134 votes.

The final position was decided following a tie vote for sixth place. Both Greg Sarazin and Blackie Whiteduck had 116 votes. A name was drawn out of the hat to determine the final winner and Mr. Sarazin, a former chief, was elected as the sixth member.

In all 14 people ran for the six positions on council.

Danielle Greenwood (Danielle Meness) received 110 votes and Rhonda Mary Amikons 102 votes. Nina Commanda and Dennis Sarazin both, received 100 markers. Robert Benoit received 89 and John Paul Kohoko, an incumbent member of council, received 189 votes. Lionel David Patrick Baptiste earned 40 votes.

Electoral officer Jan Leroux said there was a good voter turnout. "There were 346 ballots cast," she said. The final count and the announcement of the new members of council was made at the Makwa Centre at about 9:30 on Saturday night. Voting had closed at 7 o'clock.

The way the tie vote was decided had been outlined in the custom election which the community was operating under. Options included pulling a name out of a hat or having Mrs. Leroux, as the Electoral Officer, cast the deciding ballot.

This election was a first for the community since the Algonquin nation wrote the custom election to suit their needs, she said. There are several changes in the election this year under the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan Custom Election Code, Mrs. Leroux said.

Changes included the length of term, which increase from two years to three years. The code also states anyone running for office must reside in Pikwakanagan, and only two members of the same family can hold office at the same time.

Under the custom election, people who wanted to submit a mail-in ballot had to request one. Ballots were not automatically sent out. Those mail-in ballots were opened at 1 p.m. on the day of the election. There were 143 mail-in ballots this year, Mrs. Leroux said. The community has 1,443 eligible voters, she said.

Council has already begun to hold meetings this week to deal with pending issues.

"They are in office right now," Mrs. Leroux said "There is a 10 day appeal period and after that they take the oath of office."

Turtle Island

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Changes last made on: March 30, 2005.