FARMINGTON — Tiis Tsoh Sikaad Chapter voters will head to the polls on July 8 for a special election to select a chapter president.
The special election is being held after Lester Begay was recalled as chapter president on May 5 and through a recall petition.
Virginia Nelson, a voter registration specialist at the election office in Shiprock, confirmed on Tuesday that Begay was removed as chapter president, the office he was elected to in November 2012.
Under the Navajo Nation Election Code, the Navajo Election Administration is authorized to declare a vacancy upon the final certification of the recall petition.
"Yes, his position has been vacated," Nelson said then added that Begay's name is automatically added to the special election ballot and alongside presidential candidates Raymond Anderson and Perry Begay Sr.
Begay issued a 4-page press release on June 29, in which he denied the allegations and accusations made against him by chapter administrative assistant Paula Begay and her husband Gene Benally; vice president Arthur Yazzie and his wife Genevieve Yazzie; the chapter's community land-use planning committee president Patty Chee; former chapter presidents Albert Davis and Harrison LaMone; and former chapter vice president Perry Begay Sr.
In the press release, Lester Begay stated that Arthur Yazzie would "sabotage" projects he proposed to improve the community and that the recall petition was led by Genevieve Yazzie.
According to the tribe's election code, any elected official must complete six months of service before being subjected to recall proceedings and a recall petition can be initiated against any elected official.
"There is nothing to explain," Arthur Yazzie said when reached for comment by telephone on Tuesday.
During the course of the interview, the telephone call disconnected and subsequent attempts to reach Yazzie were unsuccessful.
Chapter administrative assistant Paula Begay, who is no relation to Lester Begay, when reached by telephone declined comment.
"I would have to refer all questions to Arthur Yazzie," Paula Begay said.
Tiis Tsoh Sikaad Chapter was certified in July 2011 under the tribe's Local Governance Act.
In order for a chapter to become certified, the Navajo Nation Office of the Auditor General and the Local Governance Support Center recommend approval of the certification, which means the chapter has more local control of its finances and the ability to enter into contracts and agreements.
Although the chapter is certified, it lacks the ordinances and economic development policies to help it secure funding, Lester Begay wrote in his press release.
Begay stated that he was working on developing those policies but was met with resistance by the chapter vice president and the chapter administration.
The press release also stated there was mismanagement of the chapter's finances by the former chapter manager, missing or stolen chapter property, and nepotism and favoritism by chapter personnel.Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @nsmithdt on Twitter.