Seasoned Osage accountant and auditor Jim Parris is now serving as Controller of the Navajo Nation after the southwest tribe’s legislative branch voted to confirm him earlier this year.
Parris, who has served on two Osage Nation Limited Liability Company boards, received his confirmation vote on Jan. 27 from the Navajo Nation Council, according to a news release. Navajo President Russell Begaye appointed Parris to the Controller post in December 2015 with the position subject to council approval, according to NN legislation requesting the confirmation.
According to his resume, Parris has over 35 years of accounting, auditing and management experience focused on serving tribal governments, the federal government and practicing public accounting. He served as the Osage Nation’s first Controller in 1978 and was the first Native American certified public accountant hired in the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1985.
A longtime Albuquerque, N.M. area resident, Parris launched his own CPA business in 2001 and provided financial management consulting services to tribes in several states as well as litigation support for Indian trust cases. Parris, who is also a Cherokee Nation citizen, served as CN Treasurer and CFO (1999-2000).
In 2012, the Third Osage Nation Congress confirmed Parris to serve on the Osage LLC Board of Directors. He served as LLC board chairman and also received confirmation from the Fourth ON Congress to serve on the newly established Tallgrass Economic Development LLC board during the 2015 Tzi-Zho Session.
In the release, Parris said he looks forward to developing an action plan for the NN President and Vice President’s office and council to try and get support for making needed changes for the Nation.
“I’ll be doing a workload analysis and coordinate with the Office of Management and Budget to improve contract monitoring to prevent reversions and the loss of funds to the Nation,” Parris said. “I’d also like to use the spending that we currently have and do a better job of working more efficiently with the programs to utilize their resources in a more effective manner for the Nation.”
As Controller, Parris said he sees opportunities to increase revenue for the Navajo Nation by revising the investment portfolio and also monitoring the Nation’s investments. He also said: “I want to do a better job of monitoring these investments and whatever I need to do to look at alternatives that may be able to get a better rate of return.”
President Begaye said in the release he welcomes the experience Parris brings. “We know his knowledge is vital in overseeing and protecting the Navajo Nation’s finances and multi-billion dollar assets and in helping build the portfolio of the Nation,” he said.
Parris is an Oklahoma State University graduate and worked in federal accounting posts during the 1980s and early half of 1990s.
He served as director for the Office of Trust Funds Management where he was responsible for all aspects of the BIA’s trust funds management program. Under this position, Parris was responsible for $2.3 billion in cash and investments held in trust on behalf of 2,000-plus tribal accounts for over 300 tribes, as well as 300,000-plus Individual Indian Money accounts and Alaska Native escrow accounts held in trust by the Department of Interior.
Original Publish Date: 2016-03-01 00:00:00