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Navajo Nation Chapters: Show Me the Money!

Navajo Nation Chapters: Show Me the Money!
September 06
09:15 2021

Show Me the Money!

By John Christian Hopkins

According to the Beatles all you need is love – but money isn’t too far down the list, either.

Navajo Nation chapter officials are wondering where the moolah is.

In a recent oversight meeting between the Navajo Nation Council’s Resource and Development Committee (RDC) and the Division of Natural Resources (DNR) it was discovered that funds for chapter officials’ stipends were coming up short for the second year in a row.

Kee Allen Begay, Jr.

“We need to address the areas of DCD budgets and process as legislative concerns in order to ensure that it gets addressed,” council delegate Kee Allen Begay, Jr. said. “There needs to be some sort of supervision for this process.”

Begay also serves on the RDC.

The chapter officials’ stipends are funded for twenty-four meetings per fiscal year. The budget shortfall is occurring because other regularly scheduled meetings, such as agency and district meetings are left unfunded.

Following the Chapter Stipend Process, each of the 110 Navajo Nation chapters allocates funding to the Chapter President, Vice-President, and Secretary/Treasurer for twelve planning and twelve regular meetings for each official position.

The shortfall causes a significant concern with Navajo Council’s Budget and Finance Committee (BFC) because the 2022 Fiscal Year is quickly approaching. The Fiscal Year begins October 1.

The Navajo Nation equally distributes fifty percent of the allocated funds every fiscal year to the 110 Chapters. The remaining fifty percent follows a 50/50 formula that is based on the number of registered voters at each Chapter.

“Rural Chapters are the ones always left out for 50/50 formulas and line items such as chapter stipends and scholarships.” Delegate Mark Freeland said. He also serves on the RDC.

Chapters utilize the General Fund Budget and the Non-Administrative Cost Budget, but some chapters use the stipends and allocate to personnel and fixed costs because they do not have an adequate budget to cover those costs.

“We should look at having these stipends a part of the fixed costs for chapter budgets before the allocations are done by the three branch agreements,” BFC Chairman Jamie Henio said.

Direct funding should stay the same–not decreased or increased–a great deal if the direct services had more funding. Henio added.

The smaller chapters are being impacted by voter registration and the base number of 24 meetings per chapter needs to be addressed, Division of Community Development Executive Director Dr. Pearl Yellowman said.

The NNC currently is addressing the stipend shortfall through Legislation No. 0182-21.

The BFC identified supplemental funding for Northern, Eastern, and Ft. Defiance agencies.

The council will continue to look for supplemental funding to meet the Western and Chinle agency shortfalls. 

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Summary: Navajo Nation Chapters: Show Me the Money!

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