Lumbee Tribal chairman challenges ordinance

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Hixenbaugh, Mike. "Lumbee Tribal chairman challenges ordinance." Fayetteville Observer [Fayetteville, NC] January 27, 2011.


Tribal Chairman Purnell Swett filed a petition with the Lumbee Supreme Court that challenged a budget oversight ordinance approved last year by the Tribal Council.

"The chairman is saying the legislative branch is stepping across the line into his territory," Chief Justice Henry Ward Oxendine said. "He is arguing they are requiring him to do things that he is not required to do by the [tribal] constitution."

Swett and members of the Tribal Council had been grappling over the budget oversight ordinance for several months. As chairman, Swett is charged with managing the tribe's multimillion-dollar annual budget.

Swett played a similar role more than a decade ago when he serve as superintendent of the Robeson County school system. Swett resigned from that position in 1997 after an audit showed that he illegally received school system money and improperly approved thousands of dollars in other spending without first seeking school board approval.

The Lumbee Supreme Court heard the argument on February 10, 2011.

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