The Navajo Nation got word of a new acting controller Friday, only two days after the 23rd Navajo Nation Council voted to remove the previous Controller Jim Parris.
President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez announced on Jan. 6 that Bobby White will be appointed acting controller.
This isn’t his first time serving in this capacity with the Navajo Nation. A press release from the Office of the President and Vice President said “White was instrumental in establishing the Permanent Fund, the $554 Historical Trust Fund Mismanagement Litigation to set up the Síhasín Fund, the Appropriations Act, and the Bond Financing Act.”
“Ensuring the financial stability and continuity of the Navajo Nation, as we face this abrupt change in Controllers, is my primary concern,” Begaye said. “We are looking toward the expertise of former Controller Bobby White to protect the integrity of Nation’s reputation in overseeing the Nation’s finances as we transition forward in finding a full-time, permanent Controller.”
According to the press release from OPVP, Nez said White’s appointment is an effort to maintain the financial integrity of the Navajo Nation.
“Mr. White is the former Navajo Nation Controller and architect of the Appropriations Act and Navajo Nation Investment Policy. We are confident in his institutional knowledge of the Office of the Controller and his ability to keep the operations flowing,” Nez said.
During his previous tenure as controller, White rejected balances from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) regarding trust funds. In rejecting them, he filed documents that became the main sources of the litigation filed against the BIA. The litigation led to the $554-million-dollar historical trust fund mismanagement settlement that established the Síhasín Fund.
“If he accepted the BIA’s balances, the Nation wouldn’t have filed the lawsuit against the BIA,” President Begaye said. “This is exactly the kind of financial fortitude I expect our Controller to have in standing on their ethics and what is right for the Nation.”
Speaking as a former Budget and Finance Committee Chairman, Vice President Nez said White has solid reputation and honest work ethic.
“He can handle the day-to-day operations of the tribal financial system while looking at the big picture, with regard to the tribal investment portfolio,” Nez said. “Who better to help us in this time of uncertainty?”
White will be appointed to the position until OPVP recommends a permanent controller to the Navajo Nation Council for appointment.