PEMBROKE — The speaker of the Lumbee Tribal Council says it’s time that tribal members have the chance to vote on four constitutional amendments that have lingered for six years.
“These amendments are going to be put to the voters,” Pearlean Revels said after Thursday’s regular monthly meeting of the 21-member council. “It’s time.”
The amendments define and regulate fiduciary responsibility; restrict elected and appointed tribal officials from holding multiple offices; and provide a process for impeachment of appointed and/or confirmed officials.
A referendum on the proposed amendments has been delayed since the Lumbee Supreme Court barred a tribal-wide vote scheduled for Nov. 14, 2006. The court ruled that the procedural requirements regarding notice of the pending special election had not been met.
In 2009, Ertle Oxendine, then chairman of the Lumbee Tribal Board of Elections, asked the Supreme Court to rule on whether an election on the constitutional amendments could be conducted at the same time as the regular general election to be held in November of that year. The court ruled on Sept. 16, 2009, that the vote on the proposed amendments to the Lumbee Constitution could not be conducted concurrently with a general election.
On Thursday, Carvicous Barfield, the current chairwoman of the Board of Elections, said the total cost of holding a special election would be about $18,307.
“If we are going to hold the election this year, we have to get it over with before the end of August,” she said.
Barfield said she brought the issue before the council because tribal members are questioning when they will finally have a chance to vote on the amendments.
After several minutes of discussion, council members voted to have the council’s Finance Committee review the cost proposal for administering a special election and find necessary funding.
In other business, the council heard a request from Samuel Kerns, of Lumberton, that the council consider broadcasting its meetings over WLPS-TV. Kerns said that this would help keep members of the tribe who can’t get to meetings or have access to the Internet current on tribal activities and services.
Reach staff writer Bob Shiles at 910-272-6117 or email@example.com.