Patrick Proposal Could Impact Housing Authorities
Doing away with local housing boards is reported to be Gov. Patrick's idea for slashing public housing cost and corruption. Do you think that's a good idea?
The Sudbury Housing Authority, one of 240 public housing authorities across Massachusetts, would all but vanish as part of what is expected to be a proposal from Gov. Deval Patrick to streamline public housingmanagement operations.
The purpose of local housing authorities is to manage and maintain subsidized housing and, often, to advocate for affordable housing for lower-income residents.
The administration reportedly estimates the consolidation would save more than $10 million a year in salaries and administrative costs.
According to the Boston Globe, while Gov. Patrick's proposal would centralize public housing management into six regional offices, a small number of managers and maintenance workers would remain at localhousing authorities.
And, says the Globe, cutting local boards would would do away with the need for more than 1,000 politically appointed commissioners.
The consolidation move comes in the wake of troubling corruption scandals uncovered by the Globe, which were partly possible because holding hundreds of separate housing authorities accountable is a management challenge.
Medford is no stranger to these kinds of issues, as the Medford Housing Authority was mired in a scandal involving its former executive director last year.
Robert Covelle resigned from his job at the authority following a federal audit that found the authority failed to follow procurement procedures and also handed out projects without putting them out to public bid.
As a result, Covelle has been barred from public employment in the state of Massachusetts for six years, ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. He admitted he signed off on about $150,000 in security contracts without putting them to public bid, and about $84,000 in construction work, according to the state attorney general's office.
What we know so far of the governor's proposal sounds like a move toward more accountable, efficient government. But would it also mean less local say and control over public housing? Does that matter to you? What could and should change if control is transferred to regional offices?