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Bills ask Navajo Nation Council to confirm political appointees

Noel Lyn Smith
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Two bills are asking the Navajo Nation Council to confirm the appointment of two individuals to manage tribal offices.

One of the bills seeks the confirmation of Jackson Brossy as executive director of the Navajo Nation Washington Office.

Brossy started leading the office on May 20, after Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye appointed him to the position.

"I'm excited and honored to be working and serving the Navajo people and being their point of contact in Washington," Brossy said in a telephone interview on Tuesday before meeting with Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez in Washington, D.C.

As executive director, Brossy said he looks forward to continuing the office's role of serving as a liaison between the tribal president and Legislative Branch officials and federal agencies and Congress.

"I have big shoes to fill," he said, adding that if the tribe is not at the table, then its membership is not represented.

Brossy is Tó'aheedlííníí (Water Flow Together Clan) and grew up in Red Mesa, Ariz.

Speaker LoRenzo Bates is sponsoring the legislation containing Brossy's confirmation, and it was assigned to the Naa'bik'íyáti' Committee and the Navajo Nation Council, where final authority rests.

The second bill requests Navajo lawmakers confirm the appointment of Ethel Billie Branch as the tribe's attorney general.

Branch is a 2008 graduate of Harvard Law School. Before serving as attorney general, she was an associate with the Seattle-based law firm Kanji and Katzen, PLLC, according to the president's office press release that announced her appointment in May. If Branch is confirmed, she will be the 11th person to hold the position.

Branch could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Delegate Dwight Witherspoon is sponsoring the bill requesting Branch's confirmation, and it was assigned to the Law and Order and Naa'bik'íyáti' committees and to the council.

In addition to the two confirmation bills, Delegate Alton Joe Shepherd is sponsoring legislation to amend the legislative process for bills assigned to the council and its standing committees.

The bill also proposes reducing the comment period for bills posted on the council's website from five days to three business days.

Additionally, it clarifies the comment period would start at the time the bill is posted online and proposes adding a section that focuses on agreements that do not require approval by a committee or the council.

The Naa'bik'íyáti' Title Two Reform Subcommittee reviewed and evaluated each of the recommendations, according to the legislation. The offices of Legislative Services, Speaker, Legislative Counsel and Government Development assisted the subcommittee.

The bill is assigned to the Law and Order and Naa'bik'íyáti' committees and to the council.

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 her @nsmithdt on Twitter.