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Housing action: Too late?

May 03, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The city Housing Authority's board of commissioners met here Thursday night to amend its bylaws after an analysis by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found the document contained policy procedures that clash with HUD guidelines.

The board's action might be too little, too late.

This city's mayor and city manager will travel to Los Angeles on Tuesday to discuss the board's fate with high-ranking HUD officials.

Late last year officials with HUD's Memphis-based Troubled Agency Recovery Team asked the council to remove the board and start over.


The City Council did not remove the board then, choosing instead to closely monitor the board's activities.

Recent turmoil arising from the resignation of former board chairman Jesus "Chuy" Solano and the board's unsuccessful attempt to hire a permanent executive director could have put the Calexico Housing Authority in HUD's dog house again.

To address any issues discussed at Tuesday's Los Angeles meeting, an action item has been placed on Tuesday's City Council agenda by Mayor John Renison and City Manager Richard Inman.

Calexico Housing Authority Commissioner Roberto Morales predicts Los Angeles' HUD office executive director, Bob Cook, is going to say "kick us all out" on Tuesday.

That said, he doesn't think Thursday's board meeting to amend the authority's bylaws was a waste of time.

"It's going to be easy. We're just going to be taking things out," he said.

Among the procedures that HUD said needed correcting was the board paying itself $100 per meeting instead of $50.

HUD guidelines call for the board to receive a $50 per diem for attending a meeting for no more than four meetings per month. The Housing Authority board had upped the rate to $100 a meeting with a cap of $200 a month.

In addition to the meeting issue, HUD said the board needed to "review, discuss and amend, if necessary, the following policies:

"a. collection losses charge-off policy

"b. check writing authorization policy

"c. investment policy

"d. use of authority vehicles and equipment

"e. cash management and internal controls policy"

Solano said there is much more the board needs to do and not enough time to do it, including trying to get the Housing Authority's resident council to pay back $8,900 that was paid to a secretary for the council when the board wasn't allowed to spend money on that position.

Solano also must pay back money for phone calls he made on an administration phone he wasn't allowed to have.

Regarding Thursday's bylaw-amending meeting, Solano asked, "What are they going to do?" then quickly answered his own question, "adjust the bylaws to their convenience."

Morales said of Solano, "He should keep out of our business now."

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

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