UKB chief hit with impeachment charges
TAHLEQUAH – Impeachment charges have been filed against United Keetoowah Band Chief Joe Bunch by Sequoyah District Rep. Barry Dotson.
According to a release by Dotson and Ella Mae Worley, UKB treasurer, two articles of impeachment were filed, accusing Bunch of: “misconduct, for failure to abide by the UKB Constitution and Bylaws, and violating certain sections of the Crimes & Punishment Act of 1990; and violations of the UKB Federal Corporate Charter, Corporate Act of 2015, and sections of the Crimes & Punishment Act of 1990.”
The UKB secretary has 30 days to schedule a hearing, and as of Dec. 2, no date has been set.
“I have received impeachment papers and I am taking this very seriously,” said Bunch in an emailed statement to the Daily Press. “I will uphold the duties of my office, and at the same time, keep our tribal members informed as best I can about what is coming next. This is not a conviction, but we will have a hearing on this matter soon. Wado.”
The first article deals with events and actions of Bunch’s handling of the accounting department, which began in May 2017, including the hiring and termination of positions, and the delinquency of the 2017 audit. The article states that due to the still-delinquent audit, “the tribe and the Housing Department are now in a funding crisis.”
In the second article, Bunch is accused of actions deemed as disruptive to the UKB Corporate Board and harassing to board members. Incidences began occurring in December 2016, and some of Bunch’s previous constitutional violations have been overturned by the UKB attorney general.
Both articles refer to meetings held in November 2019, which dealt with the council’s voting on the reappointment of a corporate board member.
Bunch has led the tribe since May 2016, when the former Chief George Wickliffe was impeached and removed for violating the UKB Constitution. Bunch was then elected to a four-year term, which began in January 2017. – REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION