I’m here at the Navajo Council’s Budget & Finance Committee, which officially started about 11:48 when a quorum was reached. But the B&F members who were present before 11:49 am and got started by listening to a report on an audit, which was a “Special Review of US Dept of Justice grant to the Navajo Division of Public Safety Corrections Department” that was presented by Navajo Nation Auditor General Elizabeth Begay and Corrections Department Director Delores Greyeyes.
There were a lot of questions about the Report but I arrived late and so I was unable to get full info. Sorry.
But I got electronic copy of the SPECIAL REVIEW of USDOJ grant for construction of Tuba City and Kayenta Jails and turned on my voice recorder while I tried to connect to wifi, which I finally did and why I’m now blogging.
The Special Review of federal funds by BFC was because tribal programs/divisions apply for grants that require matching funds from the tribal government without first ensuring that they have matching tribal funds.
Here’s a bit of BFC discussion. And BFC Vice Chairperson Jonathan Nez is presiding over meeting because Chairperson LoRenzo Bates is absent. And no, I don’t know where Bates is.
NAVAJO NATION DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL DANA BOBROFF
(provides background) USDOJ grant started as COPS Grant in 2008 and there was no matching cash. Contract made for those federal funds and tribal employees involved believed, and they can raise their hands and swear they understood they could spend the federal funds without tribal matching funds but that was not the way the grant read. And so tribal financial offices suggested that the tribal officials return to the federal funding agency to find out if what they were doing was okay. But USDOJ refused to approve Corrections Department spending procedures for the federal grant and so the federal grant went into default. And so it’s important to have the funding agency put requirements in writing and we can talk Contingency Plan in “quieter session.”
NAVAJO NATION OFFICE OF CONTROLLER ROBERT WILLIE
It was determined to be “disallowed cost.”
BFC CHAIRPERSON JONATHAN NEZ
In Office of Management and Budget, no one knows. And regarding matching, even though Navajo Nation Budget Instruction Manual changes, the definition of Matching Funds remains the same, which is that matching funds must be available before any tribal entity submits a grant that requires matching funds. If there’s no matching funds then tribal entities don’t submit an application for that grant. That should be the bottom line because delegates are put in a predictament always. And then the Department or council says we need matching fund and whose fault does it become and then we are told jo are at stake and we’re looked at as bad people and that’s the bad politics of the past. So BFC is putting foot down, if tribal entities don’t follow BIM policies then that tribal entity will be blocked from writing grants. And so deficiencies won’t happen.
BFC DELEGATE NELSON BEGAYE
I want a Directive to President Shelly’s chief of staff to correct this problem with the federal funds for the correction department asap. I thought there was enough grant funding for phase 2 of the chinle jail. Otherwise BFC will just be here again to hear this report again. Get the right person in charge.
AUDITOR GENERAL ELIZABETH BEGAY
The three tribal offices that are charged with implementing the Correction Action Plan are responsible to the Chief of Staff and so BFC Delegate Nelson Begaye’s direction to make chief of staff responsible for implementing the CAP is correct.
BFC VOTE ON USDOJ GRANT REPORT