Tony Hunt has been named interim tribal administrator for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolin
Lumbee Tribal Chairman Paul Brooks made the selection and introduced Hunt to the staff on Thursday. Hunt has yet to be confirmed by the Tribal Council.
Hunt is a county commissioner in Hoke County and is employed by the Hoke County Public Schools.
“Mr. Hunt is a person who is ready to help lead and move us (the tribe) forward in unity to make the tribal membership proud, and has the qualities we need to make the administration more accountable,” Brooks said in a statement.
The tribe has been without a tribal 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.
Brooks said he decided to take action after members of the Lumbee Tribal Council held a special called meeting Monday to confirm Hunt as administrator.
But because there was not a quorum present, the council was unable to take action on the matter. The tribe’s Constitution requires two-thirds of the seated members of the Council to be present to conduct business. There were 12 of the 21 Council members present.
Brooks said he was disappointed with Monday’s turnout.
“I named Hunt as interim administrator because I feel it is the right thing to do to allow the tribe to move forward,” Brooks said.
Hunt is the third person Brooks has nominated to the Council to fill the administrator position. Brooks first presented Hunt to the Council in March with a contract. Meetings were held between Brooks, Hunt, and the Council to discuss confirmation of Hunt, and the terms of his contract; however, a confirmation hearing has not been held. Brooks said.
Hunt, a former tribal chairman candidate, will be responsible for managing tribal operations if approved.
“The politics would be left to the politicians, and I will deal with the day-to-day operations of the tribal office.”
Hunt said he also planned to make staff more accountable to the membership, and the stressed the importance of proper communications.
“Tribal members seeking assistance should be treated with the utmost respect, their requests should be handled in a professional and expeditious manner, and telephone calls must be returned in a timely manner,” Hunt said.