Chief of staff, attorney general among positions filled

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FARMINGTON — Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez named several members to his cabinet this week.

He announced his choices during his inaugural address on Tuesday in Fort Defiance, Arizona. The president's office released information about the nominees to coincide with the announcement.

Nez tapped Paulson Chaco, a former executive director for the Navajo Division of Transportation, to serve as chief of staff for the president and vice president's office.

The president named Doreen Nanibaa McPaul as attorney general. McPaul received her law degree from Arizona State University in 2001. Her experience includes serving since 2017 as the assistant attorney general for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe.

She also served as special counsel to the Tohono O'odham Nation chairman and vice chairman, and as the tribe's assistant attorney general. McPaul is licensed to practice law in Arizona and New Mexico, and in several federal and tribal courts, including the Navajo Nation.

Lomardo Aseret, a former supervisor with the utility company the Salt River Project, will lead the Division of General Services.

Perphelia Fowler will head the Division of Human Resources. She arrives to the administration after working as the human resources director at Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint. Fowler also worked in the human resources department at the Red Mesa Unified School District in Arizona and at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona.

Jill Jim, who has a doctorate in public health from the University of Utah, will manage the Department of Health. She was a consultant for the Indian Health Service Navajo Area and worked as an epidemiologist for the Utah Department of Health.

Rudy R. Shebala was tapped to head the Division of Natural Resources. Shebala has an extensive academic background, including a bachelor's degree in animal science, and a master's degree and a doctorate, both in environmental science.

Oliver Whaley, an attorney in the natural resources unit at the tribe's Department of Justice, will head the environmental protection agency.

JT Willie will manage the Division of Economic Development. He worked as the marketing director for the Tséhootsooí Medical Center and for the Navajo Arts and Crafts Enterprise.

Pearl Yellowman will use her 20 years of experience in working with tribal communities to lead the Division of Community Development.

President Nez reappointed Jesse Delmar as executive director of the Division of Public Safety and reappointed Garret Silversmith as executive director for the Division of Transportation.

Nez also named Santee Lewis to head the Navajo Nation Washington Office and Robert K. Black Jr. to manage the Navajo-Hopi Land Commission Office.

The nominees are subject to confirmation by the Navajo Nation Council, but they can work in their posts as the administration proceeds.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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