Housing Authority fires interim director, hires another

April 24, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — This city's Housing Authority board of commissioners hired the administration's senior mechanic, Peter Castro, to replace Humberto Celaya as the administration's interim executive director.

Celaya lasted one week as interim director.

The former program coordinator for the administration's transitional housing program was hired April 11 to replace interim Executive Director Christina Rojas, who resigned after board commissioners raised a stink about a trip she took to Las Vegas for training. At that meeting board Chairman Jesus "Chuy" Solano resigned, claiming he was tired of the "nonsense."

Celaya was replaced at a special meeting Monday after commissioners found Thursday that he was a resident of the housing projects he was administering. Some commissioners said Celaya's situation was a conflict of interest, according to commissioner Daniel Santillan.


As Santillan put it, "Those women, they did it again. They like firing people."

Secretary to the executive director, Maria Sam, said the board voted 3-2 to fire Celaya and 3-2 to hire Castro.

Commissioners Manuel Ayala and Maria Elena Ramirez and board Chairwoman Irene Hueso-Mora voted in the majority both times with commissioners Santillan and Roberto Morales voting in the minority.

Commissioner Adriana Esparza left the meeting before the board cast its vote, according to Sam.

Santillan said, "Robert and I voted ‘no' because we didn't feel it was a conflict and the person that they offered it to (Castro), we had approached him first and he said no and now he said ‘yes.'"

Contacted at the administration's offices Tuesday, Castro said he didn't know if Celaya could be a housing resident and executive director at the same time.

"That's what we're ironing out right now," he said.

As for who exactly was in charge as of Tuesday, Castro said he was.

"As far as I know, yes," he said.

An administration staffer said Rojas has returned to her old job of housing administrator and Celaya has returned to his.

At Thursday's regular board meeting, the commissioners will discuss the contents of a long letter sent by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

According to Santillan the letter specifies 29 issues HUD feels the board needs to address.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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