Navajo president strips $2.4M from tribal budget

Window Rock, Arizona (AP) October 2011

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly has stripped nearly $2.4 million from the tribal budget, citing a need for fiscal responsibility.

Shelly approved the roughly $170 million fiscal year 2012 budget during late September that doesn’t include federal funding.

Shelly vetoed 16 items, including $838,000 to hire assistants for the 24 tribal lawmakers. Shelly says Navajo people expected to save money when they reduced the Tribal Council from 88 to 24 members in a 2009 election. The election also gave the president line-item veto authority.

Shelly cut $353,000 for a green jobs commission that he says is supposed to seek outside funding.

The line-item vetoes cannot be overturned by lawmakers.

Council Speaker Johnny Naize says Shelly has undermined months of work done to produce the budget. He says the cuts appear to be a vendetta against certain lawmakers and programs.