Commissioners decline referendum application

San Juan County Commissioners met for four hours on May 21 with a full agenda and 95 pages of supporting documents.
The meeting proceeded slowly but smoothly, for the most part. As has been the case in recent months, the public comment portion of the meeting was an indication of the turmoil felt by many county residents.
The Commission ruled, with a 2-1 vote, that a referendum application submitted by a group of citizens was not referable to voters.
The referendum was filed on May 7 by the group, who were challenging one of the resolutions that was passed by the Commission. The Commission needed to act by May 27 or the application would go to the voters.
Without addressing the content of the resolution, County Attorney Kendall Laws suggested that the resolution being challenged was an administrative action of the Commission and, as a result, the application was not referable to voters.
The vote was 2-1, with Bruce Adams objecting.
In other matters, Commissioners formally approved a contract to hire David Everitt as the County Administrator on an interim basis. The action had also been taken at the May 7 Commission meeting, but it had not been listed on the agenda in violation of the Open Meetings Law.
Commissioners unanimously approved a temporary moratorium of new permits for commercial properties along Highway 191 in Spanish Valley.
San Juan County Clerk John David Nielson and Lauren Bernally, of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission, had a settlement agreement for the mail-in ballot lawsuit.
Bernally said that the settlement outlines the logistics and activities that must be followed for San Juan County elections to “ensure that Navajo voters have equal protection under the law.”
Polling sites will be located at Montezuma Creek, Navajo Mountain, and Oljato and satellite offices will open 28 days prior to primary or general elections in Aneth, Bluff, and Montezuma Creek.
David Everitt outlined six goals for his work as the interim county administrator.
He said the highest priority is the hiring process for the next administrator.
Everitt asked if the county should move ahead with codifying county ordinances and policy.
County Attorney Kendall Laws said the process to codify ordinances was started and never completed. In fact, half of the effort was paid 12 years ago but was never finished.
Commissioners agreed codes should be accessible to the county and public.
The Commission will meet with the Grand County Council, tentatively on June 10 at 10 a.m.
Everitt introduced a draft document to establish the policies and procedures for the Commission.
The document contains 18 pages of information and includes the expectations of various officials, governs interactions with other elected officials and the public, addresses decorum, outlines the process of developing agendas, addresses the review process, states how meetings are to be conducted, suggests use of a consent agenda, and outlines conflict of interest guidelines.
The Commission addressed a number of concerns and questions with the proposed policies, including questions about apparent internal inconsistencies, and the impact of state law.
The meeting extended far beyond the San Juan Record print deadline. Check our website,, for updates and more info.

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