Lacking Begaye’s letter, salary vote back on


Navajo Times | File

Russell Begaye

When Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye vetoed the resolution for a referendum to increase the salary for president and vice president, he never sent the required letter explaining why.

This clears the Navajo Board of Election Supervisors to proceed with the controversial referendum come November.

Speaker LoRenzo Bates stated in a memo to the election board chair, Melvin Harrison, that according to Title 2 of the Navajo Nation Code, the chief legislative counsel, Levon Henry, determined the supervisors could consider the referendum questions and place them in the next election ballot because Begaye did not send a letter explaining his veto.

“The president has the authority to veto legislation passed by the Navajo Nation Council and the veto shall be exercised by a letter to the speaker specifying the reasons for a veto,” stated Henry in his opinion. “The legislation did not have the required letter explaining the president’s reason for the veto. Without this required letter the veto is considered ineffective.”

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About The 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