Director nominations move toward Navajo Nation Council

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
Navajo Nation Department of Health director nominee Jill Jim listens to comments about her nomination during the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee meeting on Thursday in Window Rock, Ariz.

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The confirmation process for nominees to lead various Navajo Nation divisions, departments and offices received support from the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee.

The 10 bills seek to confirm Rudy Shebala to manage the Division of Natural Resources; Garret Silversmith to head the Division of Transportation; Pearl Yellowman to lead the Division of Community Development; Lomardo Aseret to manage the Division of General Services; JT Willie to head the Division of Economic Development; Jill Jim to lead the Department of Health; Perphelia Fowler to manage the Division of Human Resources; Christopher Becenti to head the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission; Santee Lewis to manage the Navajo Nation Washington Office; and Jesse Delmar to lead the Division of Public Safety.

Committee members gave each bill a "do pass" recommendation on Thursday. The bills proceed to the Navajo Nation Council, where final authority rests.

Each candidate was recommended by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer.

Nez and Lizer commended the committee's action to support the nominations in a press release from the president's office.

Division of General Services director nominee Lomardo Aseret, left, sits with Delegate Edmund Yazzie at the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee meeting on Thursday in Window Rock, Ariz. Yazzie is sponsoring the bill to confirm Aseret's nomination.

"Each appointee was carefully vetted, and each is doing very well in their respective capacities since being appointed," Nez said in the release.

In the discussion for Delmar, committee members recognized his work to improve the Division of Public Safety since his first confirmation in 2015.

Delegate Eugenia Charles-Newton asked in her comments for an update about the systems for enhanced 911 and the Amber Alert.

Charles-Newton, who represents Shiprock Chapter, talked about the importance of operating both systems to enhance public safety.

"I do want to make it clear that as chair of the Law and Order Committee, I'm going to hold your feet to the fire when it comes to this important system that needs to be addressed here on the Navajo Nation," she said.

The Law and Order Committee serves as oversight for the DPS.

Delmar said in his response that the tribe issued its first Amber Alert under an all hazard alert system last year when a child was abducted and then found in Chinle, Arizona. 

Delegate Kee Allen Begay Jr. said he supports Delmar because he worked well with the Law and Order Committee in the previous council.

"I support your confirmation. You've done a lot," Begay said.

The Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee has yet to consider the bill to confirm the nomination of Doreen McPaul as attorney general.

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