IGR Committee votes to override Shirley veto

Overturn of Western Navajo Decentralization Project veto, council term limits approved

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. - The Intergovernmental Relations Committee (IGR) passed several resolutions last Monday, including a resolution to override Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley's veto of the proposed Western Navajo Agency Decentralization Pilot Project.

The override, Resolution CJY-30-10, sponsored by Delegate Leslie Dele (Tonalea) passed the IGR with a vote of 7-0. On Aug. 6, the Transportation and Community Development Committee (TCDC) passed the same resolution, 7-0.

"The decentralization of government programs and services to the agency level is similar to the ... Self Determination Act [of] the federal government," Dele said. "The people at the hogan level are in agreement and encouraging the passage of this override resolution."

President Shirley vetoed the proposed pilot project on July 25, citing duplication of services among other reasons for the veto. In a vote of 52 in favor and 9 opposed, the Council passed the resolution during a special session on July 13.

"Under the current system, there is a duplication of services," Dele said, explaining the home site lease process as an example. "It takes four steps before getting an approval or answer for a home site and it should only take two steps. All we are doing is reassigning services to go to the agency level. It is not a duplication of services."

Navajo governmental entities such as the Division of Finance, Department of Justice and Payroll and Personnel Department among other entities would bring much needed services and transparency to the agency level.

Dele said 18 resolutions passed by 18 chapters supported the resolution and that chapters are currently producing resolutions supporting the override.

In a vote of 8 in favor and 0 opposed, the committee also passed the Navajo Nation Council Term Limits Act of 2010. Under the act, Council delegates would not serve more than four consecutive terms, beginning with the term of the 22nd Navajo Nation Council in 2011.

Delegate LoRenzo Bates (Upper Fruitland) questioned the intent of the legislation, saying, "It definitely goes against Diné Fundamental Law, which states that 'It is up to the people to decide who their leader is,' and in this case you are going against that."

Legislation sponsor Harry Claw (Chinle) responded and said those familiar with Diné Fundamental Law know it stays at home, not in the tribal government. "This is the people talking. The president has a two-term limit and they want a term limit on the Council [as well]. This is what the people want."

Both resolutions now proceed to the Ethics and Rules Committee and then to the full Council for final consideration.

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