The budget line-item vetoes of $175.3 million in desperately needed and overdue COVID-19 financial help from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer shows they have EGOS bigger then their Hearts and Common sense.
According to the U.S. Treasury website, the “CARES Act provides fast and direct economic assistance for American workers and families, small businesses, and preserves jobs for American industries. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress with overwhelming, bipartisan support and signed into law by President Trump on March 27th, 2020.”
It is now August 17.
Nez and Lizer, in their veto message to Speaker Seth Damon and the Navajo Nation Council, basically told the Council that they have a better CARES expenditure plan than the Council, but they want the Council’s help to “quickly” finish a SECOND CARES funding package withe the $175.3 million line-item vetoed by Nez, and about $1.2 million. The $1.2 million is the balance in the Navajo Nation CARES fund. And so the total amount that Nez and Lizer plan to use for their Phase Two EMERGENCY COVID-19 relief aid is $176.5 million.
Nez and Lizer stated in their line-item veto message: “The total approved funding of $476,666,192 represents approximately 72% approval of appropriated amounts. The remaining amount of $175,313,214 along with the previous balance of $,150,000.37 of CARES Fund, provides $176,463,214.37 to create a second phase appropriation that will provide direct relief services to our people.”
They added, “We pledge our commitments to work with the Navajo Nation Council on quickly completely the second phase of CARES Act projects. For the second phase, we are working with Delegates now to introduce new legislation to provide direct services and relief to our Navajo people.” Wonder if one of the Delegates is Delegate Ricky Nez, who was in a photo with Lizer as they both greeted Trump’s Vice President Pence when Pence visited Arizona Aug. 11.
Nez and Lizer noted, “Working together we can move this second phase through the process quickly; we look forward to working with Delegates on this.”
Nez and Lizer are LIARS!! They have shown with their press release that they do not and have not worked with the Council and even Judicial Branch since the Council and Judicial Branch began working on CARES funding plans in late March.
I have been attending via teleconference the Navajo Nation Council and standing committee meetings on the development of CJY-67-20, which appropriated about $651 million in CARES relief aid. All the Council and committees meetings and working sessions were held via teleconference, which were recorded. And since they were recorded, there is proof that Nez and Lizer directed their political appointees, who all head the Navajo Nation divisions for social services, health, education, public safety, general services, natural resources, and finances, to not appear before the Council and committees because their mouthpiece, another political appointee, who is their Chief of Staff Paulsen Chaco, would speak for all the Division Directors. I’m a journalist and removing the voice or voices of these administrators, who are responsible for direct services to the Navajo people, is CENSORSHIP. Obviously, Nez and Lizer see no difference in their GAGGING of their political appointees and their GOOFY accusation against the Council and committee that they were not TRANSPARENT when the Council and committees developed not one but several CARES spending plans.
Nez and Lizer also managed to get Navajo Nation Office of Management and Budget Executive Director Dominic Beyal to write a one-page Aug. 16, 2020, memo, in which Beyal shamelessly supports Nez and Lizer, who oversee the Navajo Nation Office of Management and Budget and sign the paycheck of Beyal. NO PRESSURE HERE!
In my years of news coverage of the Navajo Nation government’s development of budgets for the spending of the Navajo People’s money, Beyal and Controller Pearline Kirk write memos to the President and Council to informed them in writing of financial concerns before the Council votes to approve final funding. So why did Beyal wait until Aug. 16, 2020, to bring up his concerns, which are similar to the reasons that Nez used to us the Navajo People’s Budget Line-Item Veto on $7815.3 million in EMERGENCY COVID-19 financial assistance?
I have attached the Council’s $651 CARES funding package or CJY-67-20, which includes the Nez and Lizer
Aug. 16, 2020, line-item veto memo and the Aug. 16, 2020, Beyal’s memo. Please read and understand that the TOTALLY GOOFY, and I mean GOOFY reason for line-item vetoing CARES funds allocated by the Council to Nez and Lizer’s Division Directors, to use the CARES money for EMERGENCY DIRECT SERVICES to the Navajo People was because these highly educated and highly paid political appointees “are unsure how to do it.”
Beyal stated in his memo to Nez, “The resolution allocates funding to 14 plans/areas with designated divisions to develop budgets and to administer and monitor implementation and expenses. It is not clear as to how these areas were determined, the scope of work for each, and the amounts.”
Beyal also stated, “Resolutions CJN-46-20 and CJN-47-20 have also allocated funds for certain expenditures plans for CARES Act funding for COVID-19 related expenses. These were done similarly by the Legislative Branch so most of the plans are not yet implemented because the designated entities or divisions are unsure how to do it; i.e. they did not do the plans yet they are charged to carry it out.” So what Beyal, along with Nez and Lizer, are saying is that their team of experts don’t know how to provide EMERGENCY COVID-19 DIRECT SERVICES to the Navajo People. The Council appropriated CARES money to the Division Director to decide how to best use it for DIRECT SERVICES. But according to Nez, Lizer and Beyal, because the Council didn’t develop a Spending Plan for each of the Division Directors, Nez and Lizer, with the justification provided by Beyal, LINE-ITEM VETOED CARES money for DIRECT SERVICES to the Navajo People.
And what if the Council developed Plans for the Division Directors. I am sure, FOR SURE, that Nez, Lizer and Beyal would have accused the Council of micromanaging, disrespecting the
separating of powers among the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches, and being power hungry.