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Housing Authority, HUD on collision course

January 23, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The Housing Authority here and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are coming to loggerheads.

On Tuesday, the authority's attorney, Eduardo Rivera, warned the City Council of consequences related to the impending clash that could affect the city's federal funding.

Rivera told the council that HUD's Memphis-based Troubled Agency Recovery Team has asked the authority board to sign an agreement requiring the current commissioners to remove themselves after a new board of commissioners has received sufficient training.

A "proviso" in the agreement states if the board is not removed and replaced, millions of dollars in federal housing funds will be frozen, according to Rivera.

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He said the board of commissioners will not sign that agreement during Thursday's Authority meeting.

Rivera asked the City Council to send word to HUD that the city supports the commissioners' upcoming act of defiance. The council voted unanimously to back the commissioners.

Mayor Victor Carrillo said, "I don't believe TARC has responded in good faith."

He had hoped the current board would receive training so the commissioners could "function as a governing body and exercise their leadership skills."

According to the agreement penned by TARC, the current board will not receive training until the agreement is signed. Since the agreement calls for the current board's resignation, the board will not sign it.

The "Catch-22" was noted by authority board chairman Jesus "Chuy" Solano.

City Councilman Gilbert Grijalva said, "TARC is just plain wrong. Let them damn well try to take away our funds. Federal authorities have no business imposing their will onto this community. You get an agency from Memphis that doesn't know what the hell is going on … they're talking out of their behind. "

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

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