Saturday, July 20, 2024

A family affair: New DEM director is Nygren chief of staff’s daughter, LOC questions Navajo PD chief transition

A family affair: New DEM director is Nygren chief of staff’s daughter, LOC questions Navajo PD chief transition

WINDOW ROCK – The Law and Order Committee questioned the Navajo Division of Public Safety and its priorities. The LOC members heard various concerns during their regular meeting on Monday.

LOC requested a thorough report within 30 days from DPS to address its restructuring plan, budget transfers, recruitment strategies, and its selection of Sharen Sandoval, the new Navajo Department of Emergency Management director. Sandoval is the daughter of Patrick Sandoval, President Nygren’s chief of staff.

Delegate Eugenia Charles-Newton, the LOC chair, questioned and requested information on the current step pay for the DEM director position and what qualifications Sharen has to ensure she meets the requirements.

“It has been brought to the attention to Council that other people had applied to this position,” Charles-Newton said.

“We will be inquiring about that and getting information,” she informed Michael Anderson, the Division of Public Safety executive director.

The LOC requested a detailed report regarding DPS’ priority list with reorganization, communication efforts between various departments and districts, updates on projects, applicants who applied to the director position with DEM, budget transfers about purchases made that the LOC was not aware of, and how many of those budget transfers were done and with what department.

New Navajo Police chief is Ronald Silversmith, transition problematic (sub)

According to Michael Anderson, the Department of Personnel Management provided two qualified candidates applications who he said were deemed qualified and went through the hiring process.

“It was done properly,” he explained “The interviews were conducted, and the one viable candidate was selected and that’s who’s in that position and that is Sharen Sandoval.”

However, the committee still had many questions with issues that were brought to their attention, such as the status of the new Navajo Police chief’s transition.

Delegate Nathan Notah asked if the newly delegated Navajo Police Chief Ronald Silversmith and delegated Deputy Police Chief Leonard Williams are permanent. Anderson said not at this point.

“They’re both delegated right now,” Anderson said. “I don’t see any reasons to why we wouldn’t consider them for permanent employment.”

This new transition was problematic, according to Delegate Steven Arviso. The former Navajo Police Chief Daryl Noon was demoted to commander and had done a great job, said Arviso, who questions how the Navajo PD staff is doing.

“How’s everybody?” Arviso asked Anderson. “I’m just worried about the department.”

More questions arose about NPD and DPS and whether they will move forward or will there be hiccups. Anderson responded and said both departments would continue to push forward regardless of change of leadership.

“Promotion, demotion, voluntary exit, change is inevitable,” Anderson said.

However, Anderson is optimistic as he has not seen change and it remains at a standstill, he added.

Read the full story in the July 11, edition of the Navajo Times.


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