Judge's ruling puts Navajo president back on job

AP News
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Posted: Dec 14, 2009 11:44 PM

Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. is back on the job.

A Window Rock judge issued a permanent injunction late Monday against a Tribal Council resolution that placed Shirley on leave, saying lawmakers acted outside of their authority in passing it.

The judge's decision is subject to appeal in the Navajo Nation Supreme Court, and a council spokesman said an appeal is likely.

The ruling came on the eve of an election in which Navajos will vote on reducing the size of the Tribal Council and giving the president line-item veto authority.

Lawmakers voted in late October to place Shirley on administrative leave, pending an investigation into allegations of ethical, civil or criminal involvement with companies that had tribal contracts.

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Shirley is in his second term as president of the Navajo Nation, the country's largest Indian reservation.