PEMBROKE — Lumbee Tribal Chairman Paul Brooks said Monday that he has no intention of withdrawing the name of his choice for tribal administrator, but added that he will not bring another name to the Tribal Council to be considered for the position.
“My nomination stands on the table,” Brooks said. “I am not going to pursue another nominee. There are too many important things that would benefit the people that need to be implemented.”
The Robesonian, in a headline in its Sunday edition, said that the chairman had decided to “withdraw” the name of Gervais Oxendine to fill the tribal administrator’s position that has been vacant since the council last year refused to renew the contract of Rose Marie Lowry-Townsend. Brooks said the newspaper misunderstood a statement he issued last week.
In the statement, Brooks said that he no longer planned to pursue the hiring of an administrator during the remaining months of his time as chairman. Brooks was elected in November to fill the remaining one-year term of former Chairman Purnell Swett.
“After much consideration of the issues raised by the 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,” Brooks’ statement reads. “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.”
Ed Brooks, the tribe’s attorney, said that the chairman has met tribal constitution requirements that he bring a nominee for administrator forward for the council to consider. As long as he does not withdraw Oxendine’s name, the attorney said, the chairman is not required to bring another name to the council.
Although the tribal chairman has the authority to hire the administrator, tribal law requires that the 21-member Lumbee Tribal Council approve that individual. The next tribal administrator’s term would extend only until the end of Brooks’ term in November. The council on two occasions, the most recent being March 15 at its regular monthly meeting, rejected the chairman’s nomination of Oxendine to serve as administrator.
Brooks told The Robesonian on Monday that he had received eight applications, Oxendine “by far” has the best qualifications for the job.
“The best thing the Tribal Council can do for the people is hire an administrator with Oxendine’s qualifications,” Brooks said. “He has military background and the business experience needed to move the tribe forward.”
Oxendine, who served as an Navy officer during the Vietnam War, lives in Lumberton. His business experience has been in the area of engineering and manufacturing, having held numerous management positions with Abbots Labs, both out of the company’s headquarters in Chicago and its plant in Laurinburg. Currently, he serves as a business consultant.
“I have a certain skills set that I think could help manage the tribe,” Oxendine told The Robesnian. “My intention was to use my skills to help with the organization and development (of the tribal administration), making sure that expectations are clear to persons in departments and that goals are set. … The staff needs a clear understanding of expectations and who is accountable for what.”
Brooks said he definitely needs an administrator to assist in the day-to-day operations of Lumbee government. If hired as administrator, Brooks said, Oxendine would shoulder most of the tribe’s day-to-day administrative duties while he handles other important issues that need to be addressed, such as federal recognition and economic development.
Reach staff writer Bob Shiles at 910-272-6117 or email@example.com.