To the Editor,
CNN recently put things in black and white, spotlighting North Carolina’s unfortunate Republican success in gerrymandering. In this “re-segregation” redistricting, 49 percent of the state’s blacks were lumped into three of North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts. The “haves” keep while the “have-nots” are kept away.
The have-nots of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina have issues in black and white that should have us all seeing red. Rose Marie Lowry Townsend just a few short months ago was run out of office after she and Purnell Swett were found to have pilfered federal tax dollars in mismanagement and non-compliance.
Townsend supported Paul Brooks during the recent election and actually represented Brooks at polling sites on Election Day.
Brooks upon taking office used his first act to reward staff members with holiday time for New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and relief in dress code. In the real world, this would appear improper amidst complaints that staff members during employment hours inappropriately supported Brooks during the election. LTNC tribal administration, however, is not the real world.
Many tribal staff are outstanding employees and are not part of the problem of zero accountability in tribal administration. Some upper administration, however, are not equitable, professional or courteous to tribal members. Others are never around to do their jobs — yet they get paid! Some continually fail in efficiency and effectiveness while mastering incompetence. Some directors are not credentialed to perform their jobs but get Townsend-like salaries. One employee gunned for and got a pay raise while no one else in The Turtle got a simple cost-of-living increase. A member of tribal administration administered the eviction of a Lumbee family and then moved into that home. Most recently the Energy Assistance Department printed and distributed thousands of dollars in checks in ineligible funding. This error delayed assistance to eligible tribal members and no one got reprimanded!
Have we or have we not as Lumbee people had enough of “paid” preferential politics? Why do we continue to pay the “rich and the infamous”? Answer — so the “haves” will keep while the “have-nots” are kept away.
Eric R. Locklear