San Juan Co. feuds, tension escalates
Tension between the new, mostly Navajo San Juan County Commission and the mostly white residents of the county seat came to a head at the regular commission meeting Tuesday in the wake of the abrupt resignation of the county administrator.
Over the objections of Commissioner Bruce Adams and several meeting attendees, the commission contracted with an interim administrator from outside the county to smooth the transition for two months while the position is advertised.
Commission Chairman Kenneth Maryboy said in an interview before the meeting that County Administrator Kelly Pehrson had been refusing to carry out directives from the commission since Maryboy and Willie Grayeyes took office in January.
The two Navajo Democrats were elected as a result of court-mandated redistricting, making this commission the first majority-Native commission in the county’s history.
Maryboy said the county’s Republican Anglo residents, including some of the county staff, “can’t stand to see Native Americans in the driver’s seat” and have been sabotaging the commission’s efforts to govern.
According to Maryboy, Pehrson turned in his resignation last Thursday with two days’ notice, putting the county in “a difficult position.”