PEMBROKE — A special election to fill the Lumbee Tribal Council seat currently held by Al Locklear will take place once the seat is vacant, although it is unclear when that might happen.
Sheila Beck, chairman of the tribe’s Board of Elections, said the four members of the five-member board present at a Tuesday meeting voted unanimously in favor of waiting until the vacancy occurs before moving forward with a special election.
Although Locklear has continued to say he has not officially resigned his seat effective January, Beck has confirmed the Election Board’s receipt of a letter stating Locklear’s “intent” is to resign in that month. Locklear’s seat would not normally be up for election for two years.
The elections board made its decision based on two factors, Beck said.
“First, Al’s letter just says he intends to resign effective in January. There is nothing specific in the letter, including a date,” she said. “Secondly, our (tribal) constitution says a special election will be held when there is a vacant seat. It doesn’t say a special election will be held if there is a vacant seat.”
Locklear and Councilman LeSaundri Hunt currently represent District 3, which includes Lumberton, West Howellsville and Clybourn Pines. Locklear is serving the first year of his second three-year term.
The Tribal Council held a special meeting July 18 during which Locklear was stripped of his council leadership positions, including serving as the council’s vice chairman and chairman of the council’s Economic Development Committee. The sanctions levied leave him with no council leadership and committee positions.
Council Speaker Bobby Oxendine confirmed a majority of the 21-member council voted at the emergency meeting to levy the punitive sanctions. The council members again voted on July 20 during their regular monthly meeting to uphold the sanctions against Locklear.
Locklear will continue to serve on the council and maintain his voting power until his resignation becomes effective.
The sanctions apparently stem from a misdemeanor battery conviction in Las Vegas while on tribal business. He also was charged with driving while impaired in South Carolina, but court records show he was guilty of the lesser charge of careless operation of a vehicle.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.