Lumbee court strikes down ordinance, but says council has right to review spending

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Hixenbaugh, Mike. "Lumbee court strikes down ordinance, but says council has right to review spending." Fayetteville Observer [Fayetteville, NC] March 2, 2011.


The Lumbee Supreme Court struck down an ordinance that would have given the Tribal Council authority to review and block midyear spending decisions by the tribal chairman.

However, the justices ruled that the Tribal Council already has the authority to review administrative budget adjustments and tribal contracts. This ruling has major implications and constitutes a shifting of the distribution of power.

This ruling came after a year-long struggle between the council and Chairman Purnell Swett over the details of tribal contracts. Swett has refused to share even the most basic details of tribal consulting contracts and some employment agreements.

"Our tribal members have always wanted transparency in the government," Councilwoman Louise Mitchell said. "They want to trust what we're doing, and until we have a working relationship between the two branches ... they won't have that."

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