SADDLETREE — Lumbee Tribal Chairman Paul Brooks on Thursday submitted to Tribal Council members his candidate for tribal administrator, asking that Steven Hunt be confirmed as “soon as possible and put to work.”
Hunt is manager of the Tredegar Film Products plant in Red Springs. The chairman told council members during their meeting at the Four Winds Community Center in Saddletree that Hunt is the only person he plans to recommend for the position that is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the tribe.
Brooks praised the 46-year-old Pembroke resident, calling his character “impeccable” and his management skills “above reproach.”
The tribe has been without a tribal administrator for about two years. Rose Marie Lowry-Townsend, whose contract was not renewed following allegations that she and former Tribal Chairman Purnell Swett mismanaged tribal money, was the last to hold the position.
The salary range for the administrator’s position is between $96,000 and $106,000, but Councilwoman Louise Mitchell said that could change when the council finally completes its budget for fiscal year that began Oct. 1, 2012.
Hunt is the second candidate that Brooks has brought to the council for confirmation as tribal administrator since taking office in November 2011. The council last year twice denied his nomination of Gervais Oxendine for the position, telling Brooks to bring forward more than one candidate for their consideration.
Hunt said it would be his top priority to get the chairman and council to “work as one unit” so that the negative perception the public has of the tribe and its leadership can be changed.
“I see this as a real opportunity for me to do something for the Lumbee people,” he said.
Hunt, who said his work and management experience has almost always been on the technical side of manufacturing, holds a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1988 to 1992, leaving as a captain.
“The chairman is looking for someone to manage the day-to-day operations of the tribe so he can focus on economic development. He will be the strategic guy. I’ll be the tactical guy.”
Council members plan to review Hunt’s application and interview him on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
Among other business, the council on Thursday:
— Recognized Harold Hunt for his service to local veterans and his appointment to a national committee that advises the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Congress on issues of importance to minority veterans.
Hunt is serving his first two-year term as the representative for American Indians on the Advisory Committee for Minority Veterans. In the position he not only represents the Lumbee Tribe, but also represents the interests of American Indians across the country.
Hunt served as the director of Veterans Affairs for Robeson County from 2000 to 2003 and is a former Veterans Affairs officer for the Lumbee Tribe. Over the years he has worked closely with the Veterans Medical Center in Fayetteville, as well as with other medical centers administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
— Scheduled a second public hearing for March 5 at 6 p.m. to present its proposed fiscal year budget to tribal members. A public hearing was held earlier this month on the budget that was supposed to become effective Oct. 1, 2012.
— Heard a brief update on the status of Lumbee Tribe Enterprises. Lumbee Tribe Enterprises is a small business owned by the Lumbee Tribe that is looking to provide products and services to industry and government. It is headquartered in Pembroke and also operates out of Stafford, Va.