Decentralization: Experienced Navajo attorneys ready to return home

Here at joint meeting of Budget and Finance Committee and Resources and Development Committee where Committees continue debating Decentralization Project Report by Division of Community Development Director Leonard Chee.

Whether getting attorneys out to local government is done under Decentralization or Regionalization, Navajo Department of Justice has been working towards getting attorneys closer to local governments.
Chapters submit legal questions and chapters put themselves on hold until their question is answered.
So if have attorneys housed at Local Governance Centers then can have attorneys answer small questions and progress with projects and not wait for Window Rock.
Anther concern of NDOJ, as chapters become more sophisticated they move into more sophisticated projects and chances of being sued in state and federal increases and if chapter loses in federal court, that ruling applies to entire Navajo Nation.
We wud like to be closer because NDOJ doesn’t hear until in tax court or in court.
We wud like to establish in NDOJ a Local Government Unit with Navajo attorneys that speak Navajo. We have hired such an attorney, Rodrick Begay, to supervise this unit. And with Skyping, internet, social media that there can be legal review.
And we want to make sure that the quality of work produced by these attorney is very high.
And to Mr. Tsosie, I thot hard to find attorneys and end up hiring attorneys right out of Law School but they don’t know government. But since talking about idea at NDOJ and project out there, NDOJ has been contacted by experienced Navajo attorneys who speak Navajo and who want to return home. So we will be able to staff with attorneys with eight to 20 years of experience so there maybe housing issues and there always are. So chapters need to step up to help find housing.
So i think one added benefit of getting attorneys out there is when start decentralizing other divisions and programs, NDOJ will be out there to assist in those efforts.
Once NDOJ identified funding, we can have attorneys out in agencies.
we can be ready to go within month to six weeks.
NDOJ wanted to put in five Local Governance Services Centers because we didn’t want appearance of favoring one chapter over another.

call for VOTE at 5:41 p.m. to accept Decentralization Report from DCD Director Chee
5 in favor, 0 opposed

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