On August 27, the Navajo Council Budget and Finance Committee unanimously approved the Executive Branches Fiscal Year 2013 budget and with it came the news of 28 jobs being cut according to a Navajo Nation press release.
The budget which needed to be cut by roughly $5 million according to an article in The Navajo Times, stating that reductions had to happen “after learning from President Ben Shelly that Arizona Public Service Company would be shutting three of its five coal-fired generating units at its Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington.”
The Navajo Council was able to meet the cuts needed approving the budget at $170 million and Navajo President Ben Shelly was able to save about 120 jobs through cost saving measures according to the release. He is still working with division directors and program managers to try and save the remaining jobs.
“Protecting existing jobs on the Navajo Nation is my priority. I hoped that we wouldn’t have any layoffs of any positions, but with a $2.3 million budget shortfall, we lessened the hit that we could’ve taken,” Shelly said in the release. “I am doing everything I can to save these jobs.”
In order to reach its goal of the $170 million, the budget team made cuts throughout operational, travel, and contract service spending, as well as dropping 47 vacant positions the release stated.
FY 2012 forecasts split the reduction between the Executive Branch ($2.3 million) and the Navajo Nation as a whole ($3 million) in preparation for the reduced revenues from leases and royalties from the Four Corners Power Plant.
“We still have layoffs, that’s disappointing, but we also saved about 120 jobs. I’m still not happy with that. We hope that the Council and its committees will find other ways to increase the budget to save 28 jobs,” Shelly said.