McLOUD — The new chairman and treasurer for the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma nearly were prevented from taking office Tuesday when three business committee members failed to attend their swearing-in. Angry tribal members talked of the possibility that the three absent committee members were boycotting the ceremony to prevent the newly elected officials from taking office. At least one of the three was needed for a quorum to start the meeting, tribal officials said. They finally were sworn in at 3 p.m. Initially, the swearing-in for Marlon Frye, 43, of Harrah as chairman and Debra Garcia of McLoud as treasurer was scheduled for 10 a.m. at the tribal headquarters north of McLoud. Two hours later, the audience was told to dig into a lunch ordered for the affair while tribal police attempted to retrieve business committee member Everett Suke from his home. Some tribal members prepared to take action in tribal court against the missing committee members. Tribal Secretary Jannell Downs said she and Frye, who already held the vice chairman position, were the only two business committee members that showed up. Suke never was found, and they learned later that Garcia’s incumbent opponent, George Lopez, was in New York, Downs said. Downs said a tribal member contacted Frye’s predecessor, Tony Salazar, and persuaded him to attend. His arrival later in the day allowed the new members to be sworn in. Salazar could not be reached for comment. The business committee is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Thursday. Frye said he wants to develop more jobs for Kickapoos and plans to work with surrounding communities to bring economic opportunities to the area. He said he will try to help any tribal member in need.
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