McCabe named new director of DED


Sean McCabe was named the new director for the Division of Economic Development this week.


Sean McCabe

A week after Crystal J. Deschinny suddenly called it quits as the head of DED, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye appointed McCabe, a member of the Navajo Housing Authority Board of Directors, to take over.

“I’m proud to be doing this,” said McCabe in a phone interview. “I’m happy to be working with the people. I have a lot of experience outside of accounting that I hope I can bring back and start to help us go in the right direction. I want to focus on these Navajo business owners and give them a reason to come back.”

The certified public accountant and managing member of McCabe CPA Group LLC, McCabe has served as a member of the Notah Begay III Foundation Board of Directors, NOVA Corporation Board of Directors, American Institute for Certified Public Accountants Minority Initiative Committee and as the chairman of the Navajo Gaming Enterprise Board of Directors.

Deschinny told the Times in a previous interview that her reason for leaving her position, in which she served in for nearly two years, was to care for her elderly parents, and was in no way politically motivated.

“It’s not politics,” said Deschinny. “Long story short, I need more time to care for my parents.”

McCabe was appointed to the NHA board in May after a bill was approved to remove the previous board from their positions immediately. This took place after Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., came to visit the Nation regarding the issues surrounding NHA and the slew of negative media coverage.

McCabe will continue in his position as secretary/treasurer of the NHA board. He said he asked the board whether he should resign should he pursue the director’s position, and from his understanding from the NHA board, their legal counsel, and Department of Justice he is able to continue on the board.

“I asked about that,” said McCabe. “I was willing to do step down. But, all signs pointed to no. At the end of the day if it’s an issue and I have to step down, I don’t mind.”

McCabe was recognized in 2016 as one of Indian Country Today Magazine’s 50 Faces of Indian Country and his company, previously known as Anuskewicz & McCabe CPAs PC, won the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s American Indian Owned Business of the Year Award.

The Fort Defiance native’s firm deals with tribal nations and has an extensive client list that spans California, Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma. McCabe said he looks forward to talking with Navajo business owners about what they want to see happen and how they can begin to foster the small business community.

“In my humble opinion, I don’t think economic development has been given a fair shot,” said McCabe. “I always believed true economic development in Indian Country is the development of small businesses on the Navajo Nation.”

He will continue on with his CPA firm but understands the terms laid out for him when it comes to conflict of interest.

“My business will continue,” said McCabe. “I do know there are certain things I can’t do because of conflict of interest.”

When discussing his time with the NHA board, McCabe said thus far the new members and he have been working to regain the trust of the Navajo people and be more transparent.

“We are trying to move forward,” said McCabe. “We are trying to get houses on the ground and there are a lot of issues that need to be resolved and not just at NHA level … there is land issues, there’s infrastructure issues, there’s a lot of things that need to come together.”

McCabe said he is awaiting notification from the president as to when he can start his new position.

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Categories: Business

About Author

Arlyssa Becenti

Arlyssa Becenti reports on Navajo Nation Council, Business, Fort Defiance Agency, New Mexico State politics and Art/fashion. Her clans are Nát'oh dine'é Táchii'nii, Bit'ahnii, Kin łichii'nii, Kiyaa'áanii. She’s originally from Fort Defiance and has a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University. Before working for the Navajo Times she was a reporter for the Gallup Independent. She can be reached at