PEMBROKE — The Lumbee Tribal Council on Thursday elected a vice chairman to fill the seat once occupied by Al Locklear.
Councilwoman Janie Oxendine McFarland, who represents District 2, Back Swamp, Fairmont and Smyrna, out-polled three other candidates for the position. Locklear was stripped in July of his council leadership positions.
Locklear, who was not at Thursday’s regular monthly meeting, lost his council leadership positions after the council levied sanctions against him in July. Locklear’s sanctions apparently stem from a misdemeanor battery conviction in Las Vegas while on tribal business. He also was charged with driving while impaired in South Carolina, but court records show he was guilty of the lesser charge of careless operation of a vehicle.
Two versions of the sanctions resolution were circulating among council members, causing confusion on what action the council had actually taken.
The resolution deemed correct states that Locklear violated the tribe’s Ethics and Conflict of Interest ordinance.
“… Alton Locklear has violated the aforementioned ordinance and as such will receive a written letter of reprimand and is prohibited from holding any further committee or assignments of office or authority through Dec. 31, 2017,” the resolution reads in part.
Locklear has denied resigning from the council, but in a letter to the Lumbee Tribe’s Board of Elections he stated that he “intends” to resign in January.
Locklear was first elected to the Tribal Council in 2013. He is serving the first year of his second three-year term.
Locklear was not the only council member called to task on Thursday for taking actions not in the best interest of the general tribal membership.
Brenda Jacobs, who said she lives in Tribal District 8, Burnt Swamp, and is a Lumbee tribal member in good standing, chastised the council for “blatant misuse” of closed-session meetings. She said the council is violating the tribe’s constitution when it prevents tribal members from knowing what is going on in the tribal community.
Jacobs told council members they are going “overboard” with privacy rights, a term she said is not even clearly defined. The concept of transparency is being ignored when the council constantly goes into closed sessions with no reason given to the public, she said.
“I’m not against closed sessions,” Jacobs said. “I’m against the council not letting the public know why they are going into closed sessions.”
In other business:
— Tribal Administrator Freda Porter said representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are on site at the Tribal Housing Complex for 90 days. They are helping with various tribal issues, including federal recognition and problems at Maxton Pond caused Hurricane Matthew.
— Porter reported repairs have begun on the dam system at the Lumbee Cultural Center just outside Pembroke.
— Architects are working on a design for an Olympics-quality pool at the Lumbee Cultural Center, Porter told council members.
“We want an Olympics pool,” she said. “We want to have potential for Olympics meets.”
Bob Shies can be reached at 910-416-5165.