ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Hundreds of participants attended the 2nd Annual Standards of Conduct for Elected Officials and Ethics Conference hosted by the Ethics and Rules Committee of the 21st Navajo Nation Council and its office April 28 – 29 in downtown Albuquerque.
The popular two-day conference – attended by elected officials, school board members, commissioners and employees of the Navajo Nation – provided valuable skills designed to help improve work performance, interpersonal relations and relationships with colleagues. Participants learned about Navajo Ethics and Government Law, standards of conduct, chapter sanctions, recall and qualifications, administrative hearings, reports on violations and investigations.
The conference was sold out intended to be a career enhancing opportunity designed to help attendees become more effective in their professional lives. The conference provided an excellent group of presenters with specific expertise in certain areas to lead the conference and the various breakout sessions.
The Honorable Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan and Francis Redhouse, chairperson of the Ethics and Rules Committee, provided welcoming remarks to conference participants.
In his welcoming remarks, Morgan encouraged participants to learn as much as they can.
“Take advantage of this valuable training, be attentive and develop a dynamic network amongst your fellow participants here. Meet new people, networking allows you to meet other professionals and provides an opportunity to share your concerns and ideas, and more importantly, to strategize for ways to overcome challenges and obstacles.”
Morgan urged participants to be inquisitive and not to hesitate in asking questions.
“Ask questions – that is the only way you will learn effectively. Also, utilize the Ethics and Rules Office, they are there as a resource and they are more than willing to bestow knowledge to benefit you and your communities.”
Lawrence John, executive director for the Ethics and Rules Office agrees.
“If you’re not sure, ask us for assistance, instead of assuming and doing things yourself. Not asking questions will create even more problems for you.”
Morgan also urged conference attendees to treat people with respect, especially employees.
“Treat your employees with respect and with dignity. Respect is an integral part of standards of conduct.”
The Ethics and Rules Office was established to provide guidance, support, technical assistance and training for elected officials, Navajo Nation employees and chapters. The office ensures requirements of accountability by all government officials are being adhered to in order to avoid potential conflicts.
The management and usage of funding was an important topic stressed during the conference.
Financial training is important and participants were reminded they are dealing with government funds and their usage of these funds could be audited and is monitored by various entities. Participants were urged to educate themselves about the Navajo Nation procurement policies and procedures and work with the business regulatory office.
“As Navajo Nation employees and as Navajo elected officials, you are held at a higher standard of accountability for the positions you hold within the Navajo Nation tribal government,” John said. “Our democratic form of tribal government requires elected officials to be independent, be impartial and totally responsible to the Navajo people.”
“We must make sure government decisions and policy are made in the best interest of the Navajo people, for our communities and for our tribal government,” Morgan said. “Our Navajo people want to trust their government and want confidence in the integrity of the people running their government.”