MISSION — The members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Board of Trustees won’t be up for election until November, but one seat is already open.

The CTUIR announced Wednesday that the Board of Trustees, the tribes’ top governing body, voted to vacate at-large board member Sally Kosey’s seat because she didn’t live within the boundaries of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

Citing the tribal constitution, the press release states that Kosey’s off-reservation residence means she’s not qualified to hold the seat.

The board voted unanimously to vacate the seat, although Secretary Kat Brigham, Vice Chair Jeremy Wolf, and Kosey did not vote, according to the press release. 

In an interview, CTUIR Executive Director Ted Wright said discussions over Kosey’s residency were happening for a long time, but the board only recently decided to take action.

Asked whether the board had engaged in an investigation or process before vacating Kosey’s seat, Wright said he didn’t know.

“As a sovereign government, they do what they do when they want to do it,” he said. “It’s the nature of it.”

Due to the seat opening within 180 days of the tribes’ Nov. 12 elections, the seat will remain vacant until the election.

Kosey was first elected to the board in 2017, emerging with the second-highest vote total out of a 13-candidate field seeking four at-large seats.

Kosey did not return requests for comment as of press time.

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