PEMBROKE — When the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina will have a full-time tribal administrator to oversee daily operations of the tribal government is anybody’s guess.
Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. said Wednesday that he has “no plans at this time” to ask the Tribal Council to approve anyone for the position. The administrator is the only position in the tribal government that the chairman can’t fill without the council’s approval.
The 21-member Tribal Council on Aug. 16 rejected by a 12-6 vote a recommendation from the chairman that Freda Porter be named tribal administrator. The next day, Godwin told The Robesonian he planned to submit Porter’s name again within 45 days. Friday would be 45 days since the council’s vote.
The council’s vote came after Porter, the president and CEO of Pembroke-based Porter Scientific Inc., spent two-and-a-half hours being interviewed by the council.
Godwin had recently made her tribal director, a position that was created for her. He told The Robesonian on Wednesday that Porter is continuing to work in this position. The tribal director manages tribal programs and budgets and would report to the tribal administrator, Godwin said last month.
The chairman had touted Porter’s education and “stellar reputation” as a businesswoman in a YouTube video recommending her for the job as administrator. The video had been aired before Godwin officially brought his recommendation to the council.
“She has proven herself time and time again of being a successful businesswoman,” Godwin said. “This is the talent that the Lumbee people deserve.”
Porter Scientific provides environmental consulting services, research and support to clients, including the United States Departments of Defense and Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency. Porter holds a doctorate in Applied Mathematics from Duke University, a master of science in Applied Mathematics from North Carolina State University, and a bachelor’s in Mathematics from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Godwin on Wednesday declined to give a reason to The Robesonian for why he has not resubmitted Porter’s name for the council’s reconsideration.
“I will let you know when I decide what I am going to do,” he said.
Tribal Council Speaker Bill James Brewington said that by tribal law at some point Godwin must recommend someone to the council for consideration as tribal administrator.
“He has the option to resubmit Porter’s name for reconsideration or submit another name,” he said. “At this time we have not heard anything from the chairman.”
According to Brewington, Porter is highly qualified for the position, but council members still want more information from the chairman before they approve his recommendation. Brewington said shortly after Porter’s nomination was denied that some council members are unhappy with Godwin’s decision to hire her as the tribal director, a position he created without the council’s knowledge.
Until mid-August, Dock Locklear, a former director of the Robeson County Board of Elections, had served as interim tribal administrator. His departure from the position was expected because he had been approved by the council to serve as administrator for only six months.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.