Photo by Laphillda Tso
From left: Elizabeth Johnson, community services coordinator; Andrea Dawes, office specialist; and Billy Arizona Jr. hold up a check presented by the TCDC and the Navajo Division of Community Development to the Bodaway-Gap Chapter as Navajo Nation Council Delegate Evelyn Acothley looks on.
Alastair Bitsoi Special to the Observer
BODAWAY-GAP, Ariz. - The Bodaway-Gap Chapter became the 17th Local Governance Act (LGA) certified chapter on the Navajo Nation when the Transportation and Community Development Committee granted certification on Dec. 2. Following the ceremony, TCDC, along with the Navajo Division of Community Development, presented the chapter with a $160,000 check in an effort to help empower local development.
"The chapter officials have worked hard and tirelessly to pass the Five Management System Policies and Procedures," said Chapter President Billy Arizona Jr. "I am confident we will continue to work hard for the people, as well as passing next year's accounting evaluation with positive marks."
As a certified chapter, Bodaway-Gap now has the capacity to administer business sites and create business plans, enforce local taxes and exercise supervisory control of local matters, while abiding by Navajo Nation laws.
Bodaway-Gap Chapter also has the opportunity to develop local businesses and establish a postal service program that will deliver mail directly to homes.
Lawrence T. Morgan, Navajo Nation Council Speaker, expressed appreciation for the chapter's efforts in achieving LGA certification.
"One more chapter has become an aspiration for non-certified chapters," Morgan said. "Community involvement is important to this new direction of self-governance. I am proud of this community because markets such as tourism, for example, will draw people to this beautiful region of the Navajo Nation. This is also historic, since LGA certification means that the Former Bennett Freeze Area has the opportunity to develop economically. LGA certification requires long hours and hard work. I commend the community of Bodaway-Gap."
The committee also certified Bodaway-Gap's land use plan on a unanimous vote. The historic signing ceremony at Bodaway-Gap was the first time TCDC had ever granted LGA and land use plan certification concurrently.
"Today is a great day. Something precious has been achieved and given to us. Bodaway-Gap is now LGA-certified," Delegate Evelyn Acothley added, stating that she appreciated the efforts of the Community Land Use Plan Committee and chapter officials. "I want to thank TCDC and everyone who came to celebrate with us."
The chapter now has the authority to exercise its local governance by utilizing the Five Management System Policies and Procedures for its accounting records, pursuant to the Local Governance Act of 1998.
In one year, the Navajo Nation Office of the Auditor will review the chapter's financial records to ensure that all policies and procedures are abided by according to Navajo Nation law.