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Housing board scraps rotating director system

January 04, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The Calexico Housing Authority board of commissioners scrapped the rotating interim executive director system during a special meeting Thursday.

The board named Christina Rojas interim executive director. The board will revisit the issue in 90 days. Rojas had served as interim director since Dec. 1.

At a November meeting the board voted 5-2 to approve promoting a rotating system among staffers, with each serving as executive director for a month. Rojas was first in the rotation.

Each month a new staffer was supposed to learn how to function as executive director until a permanent director was hired this summer. The list of staffers was recommended by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Longtime Housing Authority Executive Director Lupita Rios was fired in November.

The rotating system was supposed to engender camaraderie among the authority's administration staffers, according to Danny Silva, the authority's drug elimination coordinator.

Silva was to take control of the authority in May.

At Thursday's meeting, Silva asked the board to rework the rotation system instead of scrapping it.

"With all due respect for Christina, some people were expecting to be director on a rotating basis. Now it's all changed," Silva said.

After listening to his comments, the board unanimously voted to do away with the rotation system.

Board Chairman Jesus "Chuy" Solano said the authority needs "consistency."

The board's action means Rojas will continue to receive the extra salary she earned while interim director last month.

Silva said the extra salary works out to around $5,000 a month. Rojas will receive that salary for the next three months as well, he said.

The board's action means authority staffer Juan Ortiz will not take over as interim executive director this month.

Ortiz clashed with the commissioners almost every time he was named interim director while Rios went on medical or personal leaves.

Earlier in the meeting, the board ignored another piece of advice from HUD when it voted to continue its agreement with Goodwin and Associates of Atlanta.

Goodwin has been working with residents of the Casas del Sol housing project so they will be able to buy the houses they rent from the authority.

The authority has already paid Goodwin $98,000 for its services.

According to Rojas, a HUD staffer recommended bringing in another consultant to finish the work Goodwin started.

Rojas said the federal government would choose the new consultant from a list of approved companies and pay for the consultant's services.

Board attorney Eduardo Rivera blasted that idea.

"It doesn't make sense," he said.

Rivera said there was no point in bringing in another consultant that doesn't have the experience or history in Calexico of Goodwin's firm.

Rivera recommended crafting a motion to extend the contract with Goodwin, explain to HUD the reasons and then ask for federal funding to pay for Goodwin's extension.

The board approved the motion.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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