To the editor:
The issues around Navajo Transitional Energy Co. and their activities is now a good time to discuss Navajo boards. The tribe always has had issues with individuals that sit on the enterprise boards. One has to ask why do boards have issues on the Navajo Nation? One reason is, once board terms expire, new board members are not quickly selected.
NTEC’s recent activities of soliciting and hiring tribal leaders are a prime example of what boards will do if they go unchecked. When board members and their CEO’s get too close, the result is bad decision making. This is the second reason that causes problems.
If boards go unchecked, the result is making changes that do not benefit the tribe or the people. As an example, NTEC has been bold in moving their senior managers to Denver. Navajo revenue is now managed by non-Navajos far from Navajo land.
Boards should be changed on a regular basis. The president and council oftentimes don’t take the time to check on how boards are doing and performing. The longer board members stay in positions, the closer they get to their CEO and then the abuse of power occurs. What NTEC has done by buying a formal official (Lorenzo Bates) to convince sitting officials is what will happen.
Money and power can and will be abused. What NTEC has done will always be remembered. Each time they deal with the tribes, they will be remembered as the entity that sought to buy government officials. There are many professional Navajos that can sit on boards and make good decisions that help the people. The leadership needs to let those individuals be given a chance and change out those boards.
Shiprock, New Mexico