PEMBROKE — Lumbee Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. says he plans to ask council members again to approve his pick for the next tribal administrator.
Council members voted 12-6 on Tuesday not to approve Freda Porter as administrator. Godwin said Wednesday morning he plans to resubmit her name for another vote within 45 days. The tribal administrator is the only tribal employee who must be approved by the Tribal Council.
Porter runs Porter Scientific Inc., a Pembroke-based company that provides environmental consulting and support, and has more than 30 years experience as a professor, consultant and defense contractor.
“When I was running for this office I got a mandate from the people to represent them in the best way possible,” Godwin said. “I can’t do that alone … The tribal administrator position is vital to that. Having a tribal administration with her credentials and her business background I think is vital to our government at this particular time.”
Godwin said Porter is “more than highly qualified” and that her doctorate, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in mathematics would be an asset to the tribe during budget time.
Tribal Council Speaker Bill James Brewington agreed Wednesday that Porter is qualified, but said council members wished there had been more communication between Godwin and the council about her nomination. Godwin recently spoke in a YouTube video recommending Porter for the position and asking for tribal members’ input. He said the video was not an attempt “to usurp authority” from the council.
“It’s very important that the people be involved and that all the Lumbee people have ownership in the tribal government,” he said.
Brewington said council members also were also displeased that Porter had recently been made tribal director “without the council’s input,” a position Godwin created for her.
Godwin said the tribal director manages tribal programs and budgets and would report to the tribal administrator. He said if Porter was named administrator, the director position would be reviewed and filled if it is still necessary.
“The director could be another level of oversight,” he said.
During Tuesday’s vote, Tribal Council members LaKishia Sweat, Terry Hunt, Lesaundri Hunt, Douglas Locklear, Reginald Oxendine and William Maiden voted in favor of confirming Porter as tribal administrator. Council members Janie Oxendine McFarland, Alton Locklear, Jonathan Locklear, Bobby Oxendine, Jarrod Lowery, Larry Townsend, Jan Lowery, Brewington, Daniel Jones, Anita Hammonds Blanks, Janet Locklear and Areatha Patterson voted against. Council members Frank Cooper, Shelley Strickland and Barbara Lowery were absent.
Sarah Willets can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets.