Navajo Council legislation 0069-14, Council removal of Delegate Naize as Speaker, is ready for Public Comment

Navajo Nation Legislative Assistant Harold Morgan rings the bell in front of the Navajo Council chamber to call delegates to the chamber on Feb. 21, 2014. Photo by Marley Shebala

Navajo Nation Legislative Assistant Harold Morgan rings the bell in front of the Navajo Council chamber to call delegates to the chamber on Feb. 21, 2014. Photo by Marley Shebala

Navajo Nation Council legislation 0069-14, which is for the Council to remove Navajo Council Delegate Johnny Naize as speaker, was posted on the Council website at 11:43 p.m. on March 5, 2014.

According to legislation 0069-14, the five-day electronic public comment period ends on March 10, 2014, and it becomes eligible for committee action on March 11, 2014.

On March 4, 2014, I reported in a news story, “New Navajo Council legislation for Removal of Speaker Naize,” that Delegate Alton Shepherd had accused Naize of delaying the electronic posting of 0069-13 so that it would be ineligible for Naabik’iyati Committee action.

The Naabik’iyati Committee is scheduled to meet on March 13, 2014. That’s according to an email that I received on March 5, 2014, from Office of the Speaker Communications Director Jared Touchin in response to my questions surrounding 0069-14.

Shepherd said that 0069-14 was ready for electronic posting on Feb. 28, 2014, and according to a Feb. 26, 2014, memo from Legislative attorney Ron Haven to Shepherd, his legislation, which was for the Council to remove Naize as speaker, was ready for his signature as the bill sponsor and then submission to the Office of Legislative Services for a tracking number to be assigned to it.

Haven stated to Shepherd that after his legislation received a number that it would be sent to the Office of the Speaker for committee assignment.

The Feb. 26, 2014, memo from Haven to Shepherd is one of the attachments of 0069-14.

Another attachment to 0069-14 is a March 5, 2014, memo from Naize to the Naabik’iyati Committee and Council that he assigned 0069-14 to the Naabik’iyati Committee and Council for their “final consideration.”

I guess Naize made it back from his chapter meetings today and released 0069-14 for electronic posting. I say that because I informed Touchin in emails yesterday and today that I wanted to do an interview with Naize about Shepherd’s statement in his press release and former Delegate Raymond Joe’s statement in his Feb. 18, 2014, guilty plea that Naize had full knowledge that Joe and he knew they were committing conspiracy to commit bribery and committing bribery.

Touchin informed me in a 2:14 p.m. email today, “Speaker is not available for an interview today due to chapter meetings, but I will ask him.”

I’ve been checking my email since receiving Touchin’s email and I haven’t received an answer from Naize about interviewing him.

I also haven’t received a copy of Delegate Duane Tsinigine’s memo to Naize to have his Jan. 28, 2014, “Yes” vote on legislation 0003-14 changed to a “No” vote. Legislation 0003-14 is Shepherd’s first legislation for the Council to remove Naize as speaker.

According to Navajo law, the Council’s removal of its speaker requires a super majority vote or 2/3 vote of the 24-member Council, which is 16 “Yes” votes.

I was in the Council chamber on Jan. 28, 2013, when the Council debated and voted on 0003-14. I also heard Speaker Pro Temp Delegate Edmund Yazzie announce to the Council that their vote on 0003-14 was 12 in favor, 11 opposed. And according to a hard-copy of the Council’s vote, the vote was 12 in favor, 11 opposed. I also have a video recording of the Council debate and vote on 0003-14.

But on Jan. 31, 2013, the Office of the Speaker’s Communications Office released an electronic newsletter, Naat’aji Nahat’a Hane, which stated that the Council vote on 0003-14 was 11 in favor, 12 opposed.

In response to my questions about the different Council votes on 0003-14, Touchin informed me in an email on March 5, 2014, “Speaker Naize did not take it upon himself to ‘change’ Delegate Tsinigine’s vote. Mr. Tsinigine submitted a memo in which he requested that his vote be corrected.”

Touchin stated in his March 5, 2-14, email to me, “I will try to locate Mr. Tsinigine’s memo.”

And so this is the latest update to my story, New Navajo Council legislation for Removal of Speaker Naize.”

As I reported earlier, the electronic five-day public comment period started at 11:43 p.m. on March 5, 2014. Comments need to be emailed to and a copy should be emailed to Shepherd at Comments can be submitted until the Council votes on 0069-14. Comments on 0069-14 can also be mailed to:
Executive Director
Office of Legislative Services
P.O. Box 3390
Window Rock, AZ 86515
(928) 871-7586

According to the instructions for comments, “Comments may be made in the form of chapter resolutions, letters, position papers, etc. Please include your name, position title, address for written comments; a valid e-mail address is required. Anonymous comments will not be included in the Legislation packet.”

And here’s the Navajo Nation Council Vote on Legislation 0003-14, which was 12 in favor, 11 opposed on Jan. 28, 2014:
LoRenzo Bates
Nelson BeGaye
Russell Begaye
Joshua Lavar Butler
Lorenzo Curley
Jonathan Nez
Leonard Pete
Walter Phelps
Alton Joe Shepherd
Duane Tsinigine
Leonard Tsosie
Dwight Witherspoon

George Apachito
Elmer Begay
Mel Begay
Katherine Benally
Charles Damon
Jonathan Hale
Kenneth Maryboy
Danny Simpson
Roscoe Smith
David Tom
Edmund Yazzie

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