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Amended Navajo government employee grievance process moves to Navajo Council
July 10, 2014 Professional Journal

Navajo Nation legislative staff sit behind Delegate Dwight Witherspoon and tribal Justice Department attorneys Paul Spruhan, and Tamsem Holms. Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper photo credit when reusing photo.)

Navajo Nation legislative staff sit behind Delegate Dwight Witherspoon and tribal Justice Department attorneys Paul Spruhan, and Tamsem Holms. Photo by Marley Shebala. (Please provide proper photo credit when reusing photo.)

Navajo Council Naabik’iyati Committee having thorough debate on 0109-14, which would change grievance process for Navajo Nation government employees and other Navajo workers on the Navajo Reservation.

DELEGATE WALTER PHELPS
The tribal grievance procedure that involved supervisor, personnel department works.

DELEGATE ALTON SHEPHERD
intention is good. Law & Order Committee is looking at how Office of Navajo Labor Relations conducts hearing and how to make it uniform so when ONLR members change that there is uniformity.
But this is like equivalency clause amendment, which was supportive of Navajo people with degrees, and that Council approved. But it also deal with whether supervisor are adequately conducting evaluations in a timely manner.
And the L&O Committee is asking for information from ONLR regarding their cases, such as how many have been appealed to the Navajo Supreme Court and the outcome of their hearings.
In looking at how 0109-14 went thru legislative process, one committee voted it down and one tabled it.

DELEGATE JONATHAN HALE
the Health, Education and Human Services Committee has asked for work session and we have not received a response from our oversight divisions.

TRIBAL JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ATTORNEY PAUL SPRUHAN
It does not take nation out of Navajo Preference in Employment Act, it says you have to go thru streamlined process with clear regulations. If someone believes rights violated, it goes thru one-stop streamlined process. I just want to make clear the actual effect. Tribal justice department has recommended a review of statutes that have not reviewed since 1990.

DELEGATE WITHERSPOON
I agreee that there is a funding issue. And yes, there is a grievance procedure in the Navajo Nation Personnel Police and Procedures but no one uses them because they all go to Office of Navajo Labor Relations.
If 0109-14 approved then these amendments would become effective in January 2015.
And there can be additional amendments as 0109-14 moves to Council.
If you want full review of Navajo Preference in Employment Act, that would work.

DELEGATE TSOSIE
I’m concerned about Spruhan’s comments which say that tribal employees can drag supervisor first thru tribal personnel grievance procedures and then appeal to Navajo Supreme Court. WE shud be clear on this is becauase we want to change Navajo Preference in Employment Act is that there is a grievance procedure already in tribal personnel policies and that should be used. NPEA shud apply to only private employers.

And quality suffers. Navajo pple demand quality customer services. I go to legislative offices and I witness legislative staff “giggling” on cell phones. And when I tell legislative staff that is not how to present themselves to the public, I get threatened.
Go to Ak-chin Tribe and all their employees are “at will” and they have great customer service and best work.
And why is Navajo Supreme Court chief justice complaining. He makes way more than Council delegates. He has air conditioned room. He has law clerk drafting opinion. And legislative branch hid who created opinion.

VOTE ON 0109-14
13 IN FAVOR, 1 OPPOSED

DELEGATE KATHERINE BENALLY
directive for Task Force to begin comprehensive review of Navajo Preference in Employment Act.
VOTE IS 13 IN FAVOR, 0 OPPOSED

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