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Funding bottleneck creates problems for programs, employees

WINDOW ROCK

Writing a check does not seem like rocket science. But for tribal employees and programs waiting on funding that’s already been authorized, the money might as well be coming from the moon.

Some tribal employees say they’ve been waiting since December for a simple travel reimbursement for a trip mandated by their supervisor.

Veterans’ program payments are also being held up, and even Council delegates are complaining they’ve been waiting weeks or months for their expense checks.

Domestic violence shelters, whose contracts with the tribe were approved in November, have yet to see a cent. And nobody seems to know where the money is.

Lorena Halwood, executive director of Amá doo Alchini Bighaan in Chinle, has had to furlough most of her employees and created a thrift store in the program’s hogan to stay afloat until the money comes in.

“Domestic violence doesn’t take a break,” she said.

While five people have called the Times to report a holdup in their funding, Halwood was the only one who would go on record.

“If you raise a ruckus, your request goes right to the bottom of the stack,” explained one tribal employee who has been waiting for a reimbursement check for three months.


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About The Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at cyurth@navajotimes.com.