PEMBROKE — Lumbee Tribal Chairman Paul Brooks has named Tony Hunt interim tribal administrator for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.
According to a statement from the tribe, Brooks made the decision Tuesday and introduced Hunt to the tribal staff Thursday. It was announced in a statement sent to The Robesonian on Friday.
Brooks nominated Hunt for tribal administrator in March. He was appointed interim administrator this week because the tribe’s 21-member Tribal Council has not yet acted to confirm him as the tribe’s permanent administrator.
“Mr. Hunt is a person who is ready to help lead and move us forward in unity to make the tribal membership proud, and has the qualities we need to make the administration more accountable,” Brooks said in the statement.
Hunt, an educator, is a member of the Hoke County Board of Commissioners.
“The politics will be left to the politicians, and I will deal with the day-to-day operations of the tribal office,” he said.
Hunt said his desire is to rid the tribal community of misconceptions regarding the tribal staff. He said he will implement procedures that make staff more accountable to the membership, and emphasize the importance of communicating in a courteous manner to tribal members and the Tribal Council.
“Tribal members should be handled in a professional and expeditious manner, and telephone calls must be returned in a timely manner,” Hunt said.
Brooks said he decided to appoint Hunt interim administrator after the Tribal Council did not have enough members present Monday to confirm his nominee. The tribe’s constitution requires two-thirds of the council members be present to conduct business. There were 12 members present at Monday’s meeting — two short of a quorum.
Council members present Monday were unhappy that they did not have a quorum, according to the statement, in which they said that attending members “expressed the opinion that the administrator’s position should be filled to provide more efficient delivery of services to tribal members.” The statement did not identify by name the attending members.
Hunt is the third nominee whom Brooks has brought to the council for confirmation. The other candidates were Gervais Oxendine, a Lumberton businessman, and Steven Hunt, who on Friday was named CEO of the Lumbee River Electric Membership Corporation. Neither was confirmed by the council.
The tribe has been without an administrator since 2011. The council did not renew the contract of the last administrator, Rose Marie Lowry-Townsend, after it was learned that former Chairman Purnell Swett had hired her at a higher salary than the 21-member council had agreed upon.