Update: First Washoe chairwoman resigned from office
March 29, 2013
Former Washoe Tribal Chairwoman Wanda Batchelor said she resigned on Friday before a meeting in Woodfords on Monday night to discuss a recall petition.
"I resigned Friday," she said "I was not removed through a recall. At 5 p.m. Friday I submitted my resignation to human resources, and emailed the tribal council."
She said that reports she was recalled from office at the Monday meeting were wrong.
Batchelor said she just returned from her brother's funeral on Tuesday, but that she was told the council accepted her resignation on Monday.
"There was a recall petition," she said. "I understand they did not hear it on Monday night, and accepted my resignation. In it I declared I stand proud, I never did anything wrong. I've always done the best I can do."
Batchelor was the first woman elected to lead the Washoe Tribe in 2010. She pointed out that the things she was accused of in the petition were all done by the tribal council.
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"Every issue on that recall petition was done with the tribal council," she said. "I have the minutes and the tribal resolutions to prove it. It's sad that a small group used politics to drag our Washoe Tribe through the mud."
Batchelor, who served as Stewart Council Chairwoman, said she's been in politics for 35 years.
"I've been working since I was 11 years old," she said. "I didn't resign because I did anything wrong. I resigned because I was tired of fighting the battle with blackhearted people."
Batchelor was the subject of a recall petition after she allegedly quashed an effort to recall two members of the Dresslerville Community Council, according to a copy of the petition obtained by The Record-Courier.
No comment has been released by the tribe on its website. An attempt to reach Batchelor at the tribal offices on Tuesday was unsuccessful, as was an attempt to contact someone with the tribe to confirm Batchelor had been removed from office. An anonymous e-mail received by The Record-Courier this morning said Batchelor resigned 5 p.m. Friday. A meeting regarding a recall effort was held in Woodfords on Monday night.
The petition said that Batchelor vetoed the council's action and then denied community council members' attempt to be heard at a tribal council meeting.
"Ms. Batchelor has a special interest with a small group of Dresslerville residents to prevent removal of the current tribal vice-chair based on their frivolous letter of support that the tribal council accepted without verifying signatures that these individuals were Washoe tribal members and current residents of the community," the petition said. "It is the responsibility of the Chairperson to (help) and facilitate Tribal Council meetings and ensure proper procedures are followed. Ms. Batchelor allowed both Dresslerville representatives to the tribal council to vote to prevent their removal from Tribal Council, not following protocol which is direct conflict of interest."
According to one source, Steve Jerome-Wyatt writing for the Affiliated Obsidian Nation, more than 300 Washoe signed the petition to recall Batchelor, which is more people than voted for the top three candidates in the 2010 election where she defeated Tribal Chairman Waldo Walker 124-85 votes. Former Chairman Vernon Wyatt received 73 votes.
In addition to the handling of the Dresslerville Council, Batchelor was also accused of creating a paid position for the vice chairman even though a number of other positions were eliminated, the petition said.
Batchelor was elected to the Tribal Council as a representative from Stewart in 2006.
The last election saw a significant change in the Tribal Council, returning only one incumbent.
According to the Tribe's website, it is organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934. The tribe's government consists of four community councils including Stewart, Carson, Dresslerville and Woodfords.