Tribal Council fixes mistake, funds operations

By: By T.C. Hunter -
Anita Hammonds-Blanks

PEMBROKE — A continuing resolution that will allow tribal operations to continue until the end of December was approved Thursday by the Tribal Council.

The continuing resolution was an amended version of the resolution voted on by council members during their Oct. 26 meeting. Thursday’s vote was necessary because the council did not have a quorum present for the Oct. 26 vote, which made the action invalid.

At the urging of Finance Committee Chairperson Anita Hammonds-Blanks, the continuing resolution, which will fund operations at 2016-17 budget levels, will be effective through Dec. 31. The resolution voted on Oct. 26 was effective through Nov. 30. Blanks explained the change was needed to give the Finance Committee time to address the issues Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. brought up in his Oct. 10 veto of the tribe’s proposed fiscal year 2017-18 budget.

Blanks said she had received a list of changes proposed by Godwin.

“And it’s a lengthy list,” Blanks said.

Council members approved another amendment to the continuing resolution that states a 2017-18 budget is not effective until approved by Tribal Council and has been posted for 30 days.

Both amendments and the continuing resolution were approved on 16-0 votes. Five council members absent.

After the vote Blanks asked Legal and Compliance Officer Danielle McLean under what budget the tribe has been operating since Godwin vetoed the 2017-18 budget.

Godwin issued an executive order shortly after vetoing the proposed 2017-18 budget, McLean said. The order allowed the tribe to operate under the 2016-17 budget.

Blanks argued Godwin had no authority to issue such an order.

“It was issued out of necessity,” McLean said.

Blanks asked to see a copy of the order.

The council also had to renominate and reappoint Mary Beth Locklear as a Supreme Court justice because of the lack of a quorum at the Oct. 26 meeting, during which Locklear was appointed and sworn in to a five-year term.

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.

“Thank you for your trust and support, and I will do my best to serve the Lumbee people,” Locklear said after she was sworn in.

Anita Hammonds-Blanks Hammonds-Blanks

By T.C. Hunter

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

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