According to a press release issued Monday, Baines was sworn in at 3:30 p.m. Friday inside the Sheet’ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi community house.

Baines was vice chairman of the council before narrowly losing his re-election bid in November.

His appointment comes after the controversial removal of George Paul from the council, on charges of gross misconduct and neglect of duty. It also follows a nearly eight-hour meeting last week during which the council was evenly divided over whether to hold a special election to fill the vacancy.

STA attorney Jessica Perkins wrote in a memo to the council that a November 30th phone poll, during which Baines was selected to fill the vacancy, is valid. That poll came the day before new members of the council were sworn in, which raised questions from some new members about the timing of the appointment.

The press release says Council Chairman Woody Widmark determined the swearing in should take place before the next regular meeting, because that meeting is outside the 30 day time frame required to fill the vacant seat. Baines was sworn in prior to Widmark’s departure to Washington D.C. to attend a Tribal Nations conference called by President Obama.

Baines could not be reached for comment.
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