PEMBROKE — The Lumbee Tribal Council on Thursday repealed six ordinances that a majority of members contend were in contempt of a Lumbee Supreme Court order issued earlier this month, but did so only after Councilman Terry Campbell strongly protested that repealing the ordinances would weaken and relinquish the council’s legislative authority.
“Why would I want to vote in favor of repealing any ordinance that will give up this body’s oversight power?” Campbell asked fellow board members. “This is the question that my constituents are going to ask and I’m sure yours will ask you too. This action will weaken this legislative body.”
The six ordinances, which included such things as granting the elderly priority in housing services, audit recommendations and rules for financial compliance, and governing the Lumbee Housing Department and Housing Committee, will be considered by the council again next month for reinstatement.
Councilman Larry Townsend, the chairman of the council’s Constitution and Ordinance Committee, requested the ordinances be repealed. He said they need to be passed by the new council in order to bring them in line with the court order.
“These six ordinances are good, but it just so happens that they were passed by the former council and found to be in conflict with the court order,” Townsend said.
A majority of council members consider the ordinances unconstitutional because former council Speaker Pearlean Revels was involved in their passage after the court ordered her off the council last October. She had been accused in August of stealing financial documents from the tribe’s financial office shortly before the documents were to be handed over to the full council by the tribe’s chairman, Paul Brooks.
The October court ruling that banned Revels from holding tribal office, setting foot on any tribal property, or taking part in tribal activities for five years was amended early this month to reinstate her tribal privileges if she returns all tribal documents and complies with other court requests. She is no longer on the Tribal Council.
Lesaundri Hunt, speaker of the Tribal Council, said that the repealed ordinances will now be reviewed by the Constitution and Ordinance Committee. The ordinances, with any language changes, will be brought back to the council for consideration.
“I hope this will be done in a timely fashion,” Hunt told the council. “These ordinances contain some things that are important to meeting the needs of our people.”
Townsend said that the ordinances should be ready for approval when the council meets for its next regular meeting on the third Thursday in May.