Navajo Nation Council Ousts Tribal Controller by 17-5 Vote

Jim Parris (left) and Vice President Jonathan Nez listened to discussion yesterday at a Special Council session held by the 23rd Navajo Nation Council addressing the removal of Controller Parris. In the end, Council voted 17-5 for Parris’ removal.

Published January 5, 2017

WINDOW ROCK – At yesterday’s special session, the 23rd Navajo Nation Council voted to remove Controller Jim Parris from the Office of the Controller through legislation 0004-17, by the vote of 17 for and 5 against.

“It is unfortunate that the Council voted to remove the Navajo Nation’s very first CPA licensed Controller, one who diligently abides by laws and policies. As a CPA-licensed professional he cannot deviate from those laws or he could lose his license. Some on Council accomplished their goal by putting up a smoke screen that obstructed the understanding of other Delegates and gave them no clear alternative but to remove Controller Parris.

The Controller, a former KPMG executive, Jim Parris, has consistently sided with the veto authority that is vested in the president by the people.  The Controller has also stood by the legal opinion of our Attorney General. He was threatened for removal if he did not carry out the demands of the Council and today that threat was carried out.

“It is unfortunate that this smoke screen caused our leaders to remove this highly qualified Controller.  This decision has the potential to discourage other qualified CPAs to even consider working for the Navajo Nation.  We will continue to search diligently for a full-time Controller with a CPA license.  With Council’s removal of the Navajo Nation Controller, our budget, contracts and especially the financial reputation of the Navajo Nation will be projected as unstable. This is something that we will face until we replace Mr. Parris,” Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said.

“We hope that this uncertainty will not negatively affect the Navajo Nation in the financial market. I would like to reiterate what President Begaye said, we need your help to find a qualified CPA to serve in the capacity of the Controller. The future is uncertain but we will face it together,” Vice-President Jonathan Nez said.

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