Hixenbaugh, Mike. "Lumbee Tribal Concil panel votes to fire administrator." Fayetteville Observer Thursday, March 10, 2011.
Members of the Lumbee Tribal Council took steps to fire the tribe's chief administrator on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. The Tribal Council has requested that the federal government put a freeze on federal funding that goes to tribe's housing program.
There was an pair of unanimous votes by the tribal finance committee. The vote to fire the administrator came in response to Tribal Chairman Purnell Swett's refusal to release information about the spending of the government funds.
Swett has refused to share even basic information about tribal contracts and some employment agreements. The contract for the tribal administrator, Rose Marie Lowery-Townsend, has not yet been seen, although a year has passed since she was awarded the contract.
The disagreement reached the Lumbee Supreme Court, which ruled that the committee had a constitutional right to review all tribal contracts. However, Swett refused to show the spending details to the finance committee on Tuesday March 8, 2011. He stated that the contracts were "confidential and not subject to their review."
There is a recommendation to freeze the federal funding. This is being done in hopes that Swett will comply with their wishes and release the information. The federal funding, $15 million a year, is the tribe's primary funding source.
Councilwoman Louise Mitchell said she and other council members would like to avoid the funding freeze.
We hope that we can work it out," Mitchell said. "We want to have a good working relationship with the administration. The court has found we have a right to review that information."