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Published On: Mon, Oct 1st, 2012

Navajo President signs 2013 budget and Executes ‘Veto Power’

Oct. 1 | The Navajo Post

WINDOW ROCK -Navajo President Shelly signed the 2013 budget, but also vetoed two spending measures and has some concerns.

With a uncertain economy looming before the Navajo Nation Erny Zah said, Mr. Shelly knows it is important that we have a budget in place as we begin the new fiscal year, in a new release.

Adding, “I’m thankful for everyone’s hard work in getting this budget through even though I used my line item veto authority. We have to maintain fiscal responsibility and remember that we work for the Navajo people,” President Shelly said.

It is a new fiscal year for the Navajo Nation. But before any Navajo Lawmaker could say Yay! The President vetoed two portions of the budget passed by the Navajo Nation Council.

Mr. Shelly said, “I will exercise my line-item veto authority to line-item veto the 2% adjustment made to the Navajo Nation Permanent Trust Fund, and $1,396,076 supplement to Navajo Area Agency on Aging Program from the Undesignated, Unreserved Fund Balance,” in the letter to Navajo Council Speaker Johnny Naize.

President Shelly wrote that the Navajo Council didn’t have the expressed authority to amend the set aside funds from 12 percent to two percent.

“Although ‘amending’ tends to be utilized for permanent change in legislation jargon, it is not clear if amending refers to any modification, which would include adjusting the 12% or waving the set aside in its entirety. Without an identified source of authority to waive or adjust the established percentage, its expected the Council does not have the authority to reduce the 12% contribution established in 12 N.N.C. § 901,” President Shelly continued.

Mr.Shelly also line item vetoed $1.39 million in funding for the Navajo Area Agency on Aging because fiscal requests from the UUFB can’t allow mixing of reoccurring and non-reoccurring expenditures.

President Shelly also wrote that the “majority of the Conditions of Appropriation (“COA”) are unrealistic” because some lack funding, limited time allotment and participation from the Navajo Nation Council.

Mr.Shelly also said it is ‘unjustified raises’ for legislative district assistants proposed by the Navajo Nation Council by stating that the Executive Branch has endured criticism from oversight committees and Council about staff salaries being unjustified.

The President also raised some concerns, with the Executive Branch facing nearly 30 lay offs with the 2013 budget, Mr.Shelly fired back at the Speakers office, “it is disappointing the Legislative Branch advocates such stringent personnel criticism on the Executive and Judicial employees but eagerly gave Legislative district staff an unprecedented raise without proper evaluation and justification.”

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Navajo President signs 2013 budget and Executes ‘Veto Power’