Farmington — The Navajo Nation Division of Community Development is proposing to localize the services Local Governance Support Centers provide to chapter houses.

The proposal would transition the tribe's five Local Governance Support Centers into 24 Administrative Service Areas. Proponents of the move say it would improve services to the 110 chapters by streamlining services to help chapters achieve certification.

The Division of Community Development has been presenting the proposed decentralization plan this week and will present it to the Northern Agency Friday at the Nenahnezad Chapter House.

Local Governance Support Centers were created when the Navajo Nation Council enacted the Local Governance Act in April 1998. The act authorized more local powers and authorities to chapter governments.

Under the Local Governance Act, chapters can receive certification after proving they can manage policies and procedures for fiscal, personnel, procurement, property and records management.

Local Governance Support Centers are responsible for providing technical assistance to chapters and helping those entities achieve certification.

The five Local Governance Support Centers are located in Crownpoint and Shiprock in New Mexico and in Chinle, Fort Defiance and Tuba City in Arizona.

In order to be certified, each chapter has to demonstrate that it can adequately control its finances and has the ability to enter into contracts and grants and to receive recommendation from its Local Governance Support Center and the tribe's Office of the Auditor General.

Since the Local Governance Act was implemented 15 years ago, 34 chapters have been certified.

There are 10 certified chapters in Northern Agency: Newcomb, San Juan, Tsé Daa K'aan, Sheepsprings, Tólikan, Toadlena-Two Grey Hills, Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, Beclabito, Mexican Water and Upper Fruitland.

In July, the Budget and Finance Committee issued a directive to the Division of Community Development to develop a plan to transition the Local Governance Support Centers into regional offices.

The council and Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly approved allocating $3 million in the fiscal year 2014 budget for the decentralization plan.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and nsmith@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @nsmithdt on Twitter.