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Navajo Nation Council to meet Wednesday in a special session

navajoFARMINGTON — The first item of business for the Navajo Nation Council to address when it convenes in a special session today is a forensic audit for the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company.

McGladrey LLP, an international tax and consulting firm with an office in Phoenix, was selected in August to review the last four years of the company’s finances, according to a press release the company issued in August.

The audit is also supposed to focus on the transfer of $17 million in company funds into a new bank account and more than $1 million in payments that were made to various individuals and companies from September 2013 through June, according to the press release.

In addition to the audit, the council is being asked to approve legislation to appoint 10 delegates as shareholder representatives for the oil and gas company.

Another set of bills is seeking the confirmation of Tommy Lewis Jr. as the superintendent of the Department of Diné Education and could reappoint attorney Martin Avery as the Judicial Branch representative to the Commission on Navajo Government Development.

Also on the proposed agenda is changing the name of the Navajo Mountain Chapter to the Naatsisaan Chapter in Arizona.

The council is being asked to approve the purchase of 160 acres of land in the Ramah Chapter in New Mexico.

In September, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly used his line-item veto authority to eliminate funding for the council’s legislative district assistants program.

The purpose of the program was to provide one assistant to each of the 24 delegates to assist them with the increased workload.

A bill proposes to amend the budget for the Office of Legislative Services to provide $541,946 in funding for the program to operate until Jan. 14.

The funding is “necessary” and would assist the delegates in completing their work before the new council is seated in January, according to the legislation.

Another bill requests $286,247 in supplemental funding from the Unreserved Undesignated Fund Balance for the Navajo Election Administration to fund this year’s general election and related expenses.

Two pieces of legislation are seeking the approval to place two referendums before Navajo voters to establish lifetime term limits for the presidency and for service on the council.

The bills propose the term limit for the president would be two terms, or eight years, and the term limit for delegates would be four terms, or 16 years.

Also on the proposed agenda are a couple of bills that relate to the election.

The first would amend the filing fee for individuals who want to run for a vacant office.

Rather than pay the full amount required under law, the individual would pay a filing fee based on the amount of time left for the office.

The second bill is requesting that a special runoff election and special general election be held for the presidency.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and Follow her @nsmithdt on Twitter.


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