PEMBROKE — Lumbee Tribal Chairman Paul Brooks will have to come up with a new nominee for tribal administrator, according to Pearlean Revels, speaker for the Lumbee Tribal Council.
Brooks, however, said Tuesday through tribal spokesman Alex Baker that he has no intention of withdrawing his nomination of Steven Hunt as his choice to fill the position.
Late last month, Brooks submitted to Tribal Council members his candidate for tribal administrator, asking that Hunt, a 46-year-old Pembroke resident, be confirmed as “soon as possible and put to work.”
Brooks told the council when making his nomination that Hunt, manager of the Tredegar Film Products plant in Red Springs, is the only person he plans to recommend for the position that is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the tribe.
Revels said that during an interview with Hunt on Feb. 26 there were several council members who had “some problems” with the candidate. Although Revels would not be specific about the concerns of council members, she acknowledged that the issues raised would most likely prevent Hunt from receiving enough votes to be confirmed as administrator.
Numerous attempts to reach Hunt for comment for this story were unsuccessful.
Although the tribal chairman has the authority to hire the administrator, the tribe’s constitution requires that the 21-member Lumbee Tribal Council approve that individual. Revels said that Brooks now has 45 days under tribal law to bring another candidate for administer before the council for its consideration.
But Ed Brooks, the tribe’s attorney, told The Robesonian last year that a tribal chairman meets the tribe’s constitutional requirements for filling the administrator’s position as long as he makes a nomination and then does not withdraw his candidate’s name.
The tribe has been without a tribal administrator for about two years. Rose Marie Lowry-Townsend, whose contract was not renewed by the council following allegations that she and former Tribal Chairman Purnell Swett mismanaged tribal money, was the last to hold the position.
Hunt is the second candidate that Brooks has brought to the council for confirmation as tribal administrator since taking office in November 2011. The council last year twice denied his nomination of Gervais Oxendine, a Lumberton businessman, for the position. The council at that time told Brooks to bring forward more than one candidate for their consideration.
Hunt told council members when nominated for the administrator’s position that it would be his top priority to get the chairman and council to “work as one unit” so that the negative perception the public has of the tribe and its leadership can be changed.