Tribal Council gives government power to keep going

By: By T.C. Hunter - [email protected]

PEMBROKE — The Lumbee Tribal Council took action Thursday that will allow tribal operations to continue until the end of November.

The 14 members of the 21-member council present during the council’s business meeting approved a continuing resolution that keeps tribal operations art The Turtle funded at the previous budget’s level. The vote was necessary because the first continuing resolution expires Tuesday. The first continuing resolution was needed because Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. vetoed the proposed fiscal year 2017-18 budget on Oct. 10.

More than one council member said the veto was prompted by disagreements over certain budget items, technical issues and concerns over maintaining a balanced budget.

There was some discussion about when the council’s Finance Committee discussed and approved the second resolution. Bill Brewington, council and Finance Committee member, could not say if the Finance Committee approved the second resolution. Brewington brought the second resolution before the council because council member Anita Blanks, who was on the agenda to make the presentation, was not present.

“We had hoped 30 days would resolve the problem, but it didn’t happen,” Brewington said.

The council’s next meeting is Nov. 16. It was not said if the budget veto will be on the meeting’s agenda.

The council honored three outgoing Supreme Court justices with plaques and praise. The outgoing justices were Tina Dicke, Von D. Locklear and Willie Lowery. Only Dicke was present Thursday for the ceremony. Locklear and Lowery had previous engagements.

Godwin praised Dicke, of Hope Mills, for her outstanding service during her five years on the Supreme Court.

“It’s very hard. No pay,” Godwin said.

Dicke thanked the council for the honor.

“It was a wonderful experience to work directly with the Lumbee people,” Dicke said.

The Tribal Council voted unanimously to appoint Mary Beth Locklear to serve as a Supreme Court justice. Locklear’s term is for five years. The court has five sitting justices. All are nominated by the tribal chairman and appointed by the Tribal Council.

“Two of the sitting judges shall be graduates of accredited law schools and three shall be lay people,” the tribe’s website reads.

Locklear was sworn in immediately after the appointment vote.

“Thank you Mary Beth,” said Council Speaker Bobby Oxendine. “We hope we don’t have to use you too soon.”

After the laughter died down, Locklear said, “Thank you for your trust and support, and I will do my best to serve the Lumbee people.”

By T.C. Hunter

[email protected]

Reach T.C. Hunter at 910-816-1974.

Reach T.C. Hunter at 910-816-1974.