PEMBROKE — The chairman of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina has decided that he will withdraw the name of his nominee for tribal administrator and not take another name to the Tribal Council.
The 21-member Lumbee Tribal Council on two occasions — the most recent being March 15 — rejected Paul Brooks’ nomination of Gervais Oxendine to fill the administrator’s post. That position has been vacant since the council last year refused to renew the contract of Rose Marie Lowry-Townsend.
Brooks has only submitted Oxendine’s name for the position; he told the council at its March 15 meeting that he had received eight applications for the job.
Although the tribal chairman has the authority to hire the administrator, tribal law requires that the council approve that individual. The next tribal administrator’s term would extend until the end of Brooks’ term in November.
In a statement to The Robesonian, Brooks said that he is withdrawing his nominee for administrator and that he does not intend to pursue the hiring of an administrator during the remaining months of his time as chairman.
“I nominated the best candidate I had based on the applications I received for the position. The people of the Lumbee Tribe spoke through their representatives,” he said.
“I intend to unify the leadership of this tribe for my people. After much consideration of the issues raised by Tribal Council members and out of respect for the positions to which they were elected, it would not be in the best interest of the tribe to pursue a contract for a tribal administrator. Due to the time required for the nomination process and the short time until the next election, our tribal government has many more important things on which we need to focus.”
Pearlean Revels, the council’s speaker, said she thinks Brooks did the best thing for the tribe by withdrawing his nomination.
“I think that will enhance the relationship between the council and the chief,” Revels said. “It was done in the best interest of the Lumbee Tribe. Now we can go on with other business. There are important issues that we need to work on for the people.”
But Revels also said that the chairman will have to bring someone to the council for consideration as an administrator or interim administrator.
“He will have to bring someone forth,” Revels said. “He is required to do that by the Constitution.”
Councilwoman Louise Mitchell, chair of council’s Constitution and Ordinance Committee, agreed with Revels.
“We have a law in place governing the hiring of an administrator,” Mitchell said. “It’s in the Constitution so it can’t be disobeyed.”
The law, according to Mitchell, requires a chairman within 45 days from taking office to submit the name of his nominee for administrator to the council for confirmation. If more time is needed for the chairman to choose an administrator, he needs to come before the council and request more time, Mitchell said.
Brooks was elected in November to fill the balance of the term of former Chairman Purnell Swett, who resigned in May 2011.
Reach staff writer Bob Shiles at 910-272-6117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.