Guest Column: President’s office takes allegations of assault and misconduct seriously

Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren and Vice President Richelle Montoya

Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren and Vice President Richelle Montoya

To the Navajo People:

I want to address the recent Navajo Times story titled “Turmoil happening; Work environment at president's office not healthy.”

I dispute the Navajo Times allegations and insinuations in the Nov. 30 article.

It is unfortunate that the reporter failed to include our responses to the allegations and provided the Navajo people a one-sided story based on opinion rather than fact.

Because the paper published it, I must issue this direct response to the people to speak to the article’s inaccuracies and allegations.

The opinions of disgruntled former staff members and anonymous sources fail to reflect the reality of my office.

The most serious allegation in the Navajo Times story alleges sexual assault and harassment. As a matter of policy and ethics, this office, Navajo governmental entities, and other elected leaders do not interfere or influence any ongoing investigations.

More importantly, we choose not to mention names. We will continue not to mention names.

Because a Navajo governmental entity like the Navajo Times chose to report this story, I want to make it clear that reports of allegations like this are taken seriously.

Seven months ago, an allegation was reported to my office. It was immediately reported to the Navajo Nation Police and the Department of Criminal Investigations.

When the allegation was raised, I took immediate action. Based on the allegation, one individual was released immediately from service.

Another staff member voluntarily resigned on good terms five months later for reasons unrelated to these allegations.

Criminal Investigations gave its report to the Navajo Nation Office of the Prosecutor. The investigation is now in the hands of authorities.

Second, all expenses paid by OPVP were necessary, legitimate, legal and ethical. We report P-card purchases as required. Transparency is crucial.

I am committed to uphold and keep Navajo Nation government employees and leaders held to these standards.

My office will continue to strive to bring results for the Navajo people. We value your trust and support, and we remain committed to delivering on my promises.

Thank you for your understanding and continued belief in the mission of building an efficient and effective government.

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