Bill would name a replacement if Navajo Nation Council Speaker Johnny Naize was removed

Noel Lyn Smith The Daily Times
The Daily Times

Farmington — Although the Navajo Nation Council has not taken action on legislation to remove council Speaker Johnny Naize, a bill to appoint his replacement is now posted on the council's website.

The two-page bill was posted online Monday for public review and to start the public comment period.

It is sponsored by council Delegate Alton Joe Shepherd, who is also sponsoring the legislation calling for Naize's removal.

An email to Shepherd for comment about sponsoring the bill was not returned by press time Tuesday.

Both pieces of legislation were submitted after Naize was charged with 10 counts of bribery and one count of conspiracy by the tribe's special prosecutors.

The criminal complaints allege that Naize misused the council's discretionary fund program, which was established to provide financial assistance to needy constituents.

The bill's language refers to Navajo law, which mandates that the speaker be selected and confirmed by delegates and serve at the pleasure of the council.

Tribal law also mandates that when a vacancy occurs, the council shall select and confirm from its membership a successor to serve the remainder of the term.

"A particular statutory provision applicable to the Office of the Speaker provides: The Speaker of the Navajo Nation Council shall be a member of the Navajo Nation Council, in good standing," according to the bill.

The speaker is selected every two years as the first order of business in January of odd numbered years.

The legislation will be eligible for committee action after Jan. 18 and was assigned to the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee and the council, where final authority rests.

The bill to remove Naize was added to Monday's agenda for the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee at the council chamber in Window Rock, Ariz.

When time came to discuss the bill, council Delegate Nelson BeGaye served as speaker pro tem. The measure did not receive a first or second motion because there were questions about whether or not it was eligible for consideration by the committee since its five-day comment period ended Monday, according to staff from the Legislative Branch.

Since the legislation did not receive any motion, it remains in the hands of the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and

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