Deschinny out, Smith in

Committee votes to remove economic boss, keep community development boss


The Resource and Development Committee voted to recommend removing Economic Development Director Crystal Deschinny, but similar legislation directed at Community Development Director Carl Smith failed.

Crystal J. Deschinny

RDC member Davis Filfred, who sponsored the bill to recommend Deschinny’s removal, spoke on his reasoning during RDC’s special meeting Tuesday at Twin Arrows Navajo Casino.

He said it’s in large part because she has not brought any revenue to the Navajo Nation nor created any jobs.

Filfred said Deschinny did not argue when he confronted her about her job performance.

“Her exact words were, ‘You’re right, I haven’t created any jobs and, you’re right, I haven’t brought in any revenue to the Nation,’” claimed Filfred, adding that she had actually abolished several positions.

Filfred continued to express his disappointment with the way the Regional Business Development Offices have been managed, and Deschinny failing to see potential at the Antelope Point Marina by getting Hard Rock Café established there.

But, according to the bill, the reason for the ouster is because she did not provide policy amendments to improve the Business and Industrial Development Fund, never updated the division’s plan of operation, curtailed services to the local businesses, and has not improved the economy of the Nation.

RDC member Walter Phelps defended Deschinny.

“Economic Development … it’s the lowest-funded division than all the other divisions … to me that’s where the problem is,” he said. “It’s not fair to attack the division managers when we just give them pennies to do their work and expect miracles to happen.”

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Categories: Politics

About Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council, Business, Fort Defiance Agency, New Mexico State politics and Art/fashion. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at