Grayeyes suggested to the presenter that because the US Department of Agriculture often coordinates programs for people in both Utah and Arizona, SEULAG should also coordinate its programs with Arizona.
By Marjorie Haun
Willie Grayeyes, a commissioner in San Juan County, Utah, has a post office box, and driver’s license in Arizona, as well as a home to which he holds title, in Page. Whether or not Grayeyes remains on the commission may be determined on Monday, January 28, when a district judge will decide whether or not there is sufficient foundation for his claim of residency.
Seemingly unable to prove that he owns a primary residence in San Juan County, Grayeyes and his defense team have asserted that his belief that the place of his birth, where his umbilical cord was buried, is his permanent residence regardless of where he may live or spend most of his time. Grayeyes is one of two Navajo commissioners who were elected in 2018 as a result of the race-based gerrymandering which took place in San Juan County as the result of a lawsuit by the Navajo Nation and other parties. Kenneth Maryboy, also Navajo, was elected at the same time. Although the county has a conservative, primarily-Republican voter base, the re-drawn districts have given local power to Democrats.
Evidence provided at the hearing regarding Grayeyes’ residency strongly indicates that, although he spends time in Utah, his children were raised in Arizona, and his girlfriend, his office, and his home are still there. Recorded comments at a recent San Juan County Commission meeting, the first Grayeyes has attended, strongly hint that he is attempting to straddle state lines when it comes to rendering service to the public as well. In the following recording, a representative from the South Eastern Utah Association of Local Governments (SEULAG) was orienting the commissioners to the various programs the organization offers in San Juan County, including heating and housing. Grayeyes suggested to the presenter that because the US Department of Agriculture often coordinates programs for people in both Utah and Arizona, SEULAG should also coordinate its programs with Arizona. The presenter then stated that the organization is exclusively for Utah, and would have to change its rules through a top down amendment process. Grayeyes then asked the representative to see about amending the rules so that SEUALG could work across the state line and help people in Arizona. (the above is a paraphrasing of the recording) You can listen to the exchange below. It begins at approximately minute 32:00.
The online recording can be found at https://www.utah.gov/pmn/files/460621.MP3
As we reported last week, Maryboy and Grayeyes have drafted several county resolutions that would reverse key actions of the former county commission, of which Bruce Adams, the lone Republican remaining in the commission, was a member. If passed, the resolutions would undo prior resolutions regarding the shrinking of the now-defunct Bears Ears National Monument, the county’s strategies in defending against environmentalist lawsuits, and a number of other things which had the support of the majority of San Juan County residents.
Despite the ongoing court case disputing Grayeyes claim of residency, and the misgivings of locals who believe Grayeyes may have been elected illegally, it appears that he is unconcerned about the appearance of his lobbying of Utah local governments to render resources and help to people in Arizona.
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