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Housing Authority Members Resign, Following Request From Feds

September 9th, 2016 · 15 Comments · News and Events

Two weeks after the regional director of the federal Housing and Urban Development urged Mayor Joe Ganim to replace the appointees of his predecessor, four Housing Authority commissioners have resigned, according to the mayor’s office. That means the mayor is now actively searching for replacements following HUD assertions the housing authority is a mess.

From Brian Lockhart, CT Post:

The Housing Authority board that oversees a $51 million budget and low-income housing for 12,000 residents is now Mayor Joe Ganim’s full responsibility.

Ganim’s office Friday confirmed that all four of the mayoral-appointed members he inherited after taking office in December have submitted their resignations. Their departures were prompted by a blistering letter last month from federal housing officials to Ganim that portrayed the board as unable to turnaround the authority, which is plagued by fiscal, personnel, infrastructure and security woes.

That Aug. 25 letter from the U.S. Department of  Housing and Urban Development, drafted following several meetings with the mayor, asked Ganim to appoint new members within 30 days.

Ganim spokesman Av Harris Friday said Board Chairman Dulce Nieves, Sulton Stack, and newer members Richard DeJesus and Janet Ortiz, submitted resignations. They are holdovers from Mayor Bill Finch’s administration. Ganim, an ex-mayor, defeated Finch in last year’s Democratic primary.

Full story here.

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15 Comments so far ↓

  • Ron Mackey

    This is just a small portion of the letter from Suzanne Piacentini, director of HUD’s Hartford regional field office.

    “· There has been a history of Board Member interference in the daily operations of the agency and the inappropriate use of their authority to influence the award of contracts, the hiring of friends and family members and the provision of housing to family members outside of the required tenant selection policies. Although the Recovery Agreement requires that this activity will no longer continue, HUD has received information that supports that some current Board Members continue these unethical and possibly illegal activities.

    “· The BHA fails to seek guidance from HUD and their own attorneys to avoid taking actions that harm BHA residents, partners, employees and applicants, evidencing that they do not have the proper ethics or willingness to oversee the Agency.”

    I’m glad former City Councilman Bob “Troll” Walsh asks that the federal law enforcement agency look into allegations made by the head of the Housing and Urban Development’s Hartford field office asserting “HUD has received information that supports that some current Board Members continue these unethical and possibly illegal activities.”

    These problems go way past these four BHA board members and this one HUD director, this problem goes back years with many other BHA board members and many HUD directors and the truth must come out and if there was wrongdoing then punishment must be given to those involved.

  • Bob Walsh

    Here is my guess as to whom the Ganim replacements will be
    Ralph Ford
    Ernie Newton
    Americo Santiago
    and as the new chair/mayoral bucket boy
    Drum roll please
    Black Rocker Tom Mulligan

  • Andrew C Fardy

    That’s great Bob, two criminals and a professional Puerto Rican who was fired from the same position. Tom Mulligan, everyone’s friend and a man without an opinion.

  • Tom White

    I apologize for copying and pasting, but I feel this portion of the CT Post article is important:
    Asked recently by Hearst Media what constitutes the ideal professional background for a housing commissioner, HUD Spokesman Rhonda Siciliano said “professional backgrounds in finance, management, real estate, law and human services offer skill sets that are useful.”

    Are these the criteria the Ganim (G2) administration is using to select new board members?

    Finance professional–Bail bondsman
    Management professional–Campaign worker
    Real estate professional–Section 8 landlord
    Human Services professional–Re-entry counselor

    Sarcasm aside, it is unrealistic to expect real professionals (degrees and work experience) to be appointed by a political organization.

  • Bob Walsh

    Come on Lennie. I asked you to find out how much other city’s Housing Authorities “contribute” to the host city’s general fund to pay for police protection, i.e. Protection money. I haven’t seen a response.
    How about finding out the “professional” makeup of their boards?
    You can handle that in the same three phone calls.
    I’m thinking New Haven, Hartford and Waterbury.

  • Bob Walsh

    Wake up, Lennie.
    I see where Gina Malheiro stormed out of her office the other day. People are not sure if she quit or just left early.
    The CT Post reported she and her boss are not talking. How in hell can someone and their boss not be talking?
    This has got to be the end of Gina or her boss John Gomes. You cannot run the city with stuff like this going on.

  • Zena Lu

    Leave the gun; take the cannoli. John Gomes=gun. Gina=cannoli.
    www .youtube.com/watch?v=yHzh0PvMWTI

  • John Marshall Lee

    Adults grow into many responsibilities in their lifetimes. Sometimes like Sully of USAir fame, they have just the right temperament, training and experience to save 155 lives aboard under unique circumstance. In other more frequent situations, like parenthood, we never get to read the book in advance and just have to try for good results with the end in mind, patiently through the years.

    In my years looking at City governance, I have been surprised at the generally wasted opportunity for good practices within Boards and Commissions in Bridgeport. Here I am not talking about the basis for selection as that seems to be above my pay grade. However, once selected it would seem there would be a basic set of expectations covered in writing by the City. That might proceed to an expectation of some minimal training that might include a review of minutes of the past several years as well as other sources in order to come up to speed. Finally, in addition to an annual statement that covers “conflict of interest” issues and other ethical items there should be an evaluation of some kind, even if it is only a self-evaluation by each individual during a called meeting annually.

    On the Mayor’s part, a spreadsheet kept by one of his aides can keep track of appointments expiring SIX MONTHS FROM TODAY and begin to review evaluations in order to be aware of whether a current member deserves to stay based on attendance, participation and ability to serve currently or whether a new appointment must be pursued. The number of people serving expired terms is not a good sign of Mayoral management or care dealing with “best practices” and leaves laypersons in a less than healthy position.

    These specific items were not part of the Transition Report dealing with Boards and Commissions but still are reasonable practices. How many folks have served on Housing in the past dozen years? Would evaluations assist the Mayor’s office in its process? Would evaluations of a best practices design provide cover for a worthy Board member caught up in a mess not of their own making? Time will tell.

  • Bob Walsh

    John,
    Joe Ganim required his appointees to sign an undated letter of resignation before being sworn in. Joe Ganim keeps a list of expired commissioners so he know exactly whom he can pressure when he needs their votes. Having members of a board serving expired terms is like hitting a trifecta.
    After all of your years studying governance, haven’t you learned anything?

  • Tom White

    Bob,
    John Lee sees things as they should be and is saying ‘why not.’

    The undated letter of resignation and expired term is a common practice of Bridgeport mayors.

    Let’s see if the Ganim administration takes the appointment of a new BHA board seriously. (I’m not holding my breath.)

  • Andrew C Fardy

    I was a park commissioner during Ganim 1. I was not asked to sign an undated resignation letter. What Ganim did with the park board was let everybody’s term run out and they stayed until a big vote was needed. Well Ganim wanted to lease the golf course and the sitting board did not want to lease the course. Ganim replaced seven commissioners whose terms expired with seven new commissioners who rolled over like $2 hookers.

  • John Marshall Lee

    Zena Lu,
    People who game any system are counting on the fact folks will not understand what is going on if it is kept in the dark and if they do not respond when something is called into question. Shady, and UGH!!! Or identify the practices that have gotten us where we are and keep repeating the “news” until something is done??? A good watchdog keeps barking until the threat is removed.
    I keep barking about such subjects and Walsh questions my intelligence for doing so. But if all the former City Council members who read, and the few who write, would genuinely raise their voices with the rest of us who are regulars, there would be quite a knowledgeable chorus. The multiple voices would have some effect I predict and they also would serve to eliminate some of the hopelessness that shows in Troll’s posts (as well as in many residents) on occasion. What is the risk in joining your voice with others who are currently being ignored, disrespected and kept from using talents for community improvement? Would it be a revolt of “tax slaves?” Isn’t it an indication that leadership (those in power enough to ignore truths raised by citizen neighbors) is too confident in how they have rigged the ship of state? Let’s see who has to walk the plank when all is said and done. Time will tell.

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