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Referendum bill requesting salary adjustments for president and vice president to be considered by President Russell Begaye

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WINDOW ROCK – The Navajo Nation Council met in a special session on Friday, and voted 17-3 in support of Legislation No. 0272-18, which seeks to authorize an election referendum to allow registered Navajo voters to decide whether or not to increase the salaries for the positions of the Navajo Nation president and vice president. The referendum is subject to consideration by President Russell Begaye and the Navajo Nation Board of Election Supervisors. 

If the president and the election board approve the measure, Navajo voters will decide whether or not to increase the salaries in the upcoming general election on Nov. 6.

The current annual salary for the position of the president is $55,000, and for the position of the vice president the current annual salary is $45,000. 

The Commission on Navajo Government Development recommended the ballot measure through a resolution passed by commission members in July. During Friday’s session, the Office of Navajo Government Development provided a written report indicating that there has never been a cost of living adjustment in salary since the positions were first established in 1989. 

The report further states that the salaries for the president and vice president positions are far lower than salaries of similar state officials who benefit from cost of living salary adjustments.

If the measure is placed on the ballot, voters who vote “yes” for the salary adjustment will then be presented with the following three recommended salary options: 

Option One:

Navajo Nation President Salary at Eighty-Five Thousand Dollars ($85,000)

Navajo Nation Vice President Salary at Seventy Thousand Dollars ($70,000)

Option Two:

Navajo Nation President Salary at Ninety-Five Thousand Dollars ($95,000)

Navajo Nation Vice President Salary at Eighty Thousand Dollars ($80,000)

Option Three:

Navajo Nation President Salary at One-Hundred and Two Thousand Dollars ($102,000)

Navajo Nation Vice President Salary at Eighty-Seven Thousand Dollars ($87,000)

The legislation was approved by the Navajo Nation Council with 17 supporting votes, and three opposing votes. Resolution CS-69-18 was delivered to the Office of the President and Vice President on Friday, for consideration. The ballot language is also subject to consideration by the Navajo Nation Board of Election Supervisors.


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