HADCO May Board Appointment

The Douglas County Commissioners will shortly being appointing someone to fill a four-year term on the Housing Authority of Douglas County Board of Commissioners.   CEA sent two emails to our DC Commissioners regarding this appointment and here they are:

Here is the an email setting out our support for Joy Mayorga and our request they reject Ernie Luna’s application for reappointment.   The second email sets out more reasons, they should not appoint Mr. Luna.  

May 14, 2010

Dear Douglas County Commissioners:

This letter is to put our two cents into the upcoming HADCO Board appointment.  Citizens Education & Advocacy (CEA) has two recommendations that are being made based on our direct knowledge of two of the candidates.  One we believe should be the next HADCO Commissioner and the other we believe should not.  

CEA believes that Ernie Luna should not be reappointed to the HADCO Board of Commissioners based on his actions in the past two or so months serving in that capacity.  Although Mr. Luna is pleasant enough in his interactions, he has demonstrated a lack of independent leadership skills regarding the position that indicates to us that he might better serve as a volunteer for HADCO in some other way and allow others who are better skilled serve as a volunteer Board member.     

 Although there are a few issues that we  believe demonstrate Mr. Luna should not be a HADCO Commissioner, one of the most glaring is the decision Mr. Luna made to attend a meeting that even HADCO’s attorney recommend the board postpone because it did not comply with the agency’s bylaws. This was the first meeting he attended, the date of which had been changed by the Executive Director in violation of HADCO’s bylaws and the first part of the meeting discussed the lawyer’s recommendation that they not have the meeting but instead reconvene in accordance with their bylaws.   However, Mr. Luna voted with the other two who were there to go ahead with the meeting because they were there anyway although members of the public who normally attend HADCO meetings did not go to this meeting because of the issue of it being held illegally.  If you want more details of the issue, after you have reviewed the audio recording of the HADCO meeting that can be accessed at the following link, please contact me. (Here is a link on the HADCO website to listen to this meeting:  http://www.hadcor.org/default/index.cfm/resources/public-meetings-audio-recordings/

Then click the appropriate link for the February 25, 2010 Public Meeting Audio.  If you have difficulty with this audio, please let me know and I can provide a copy on a CD to you Monday.   Given the main responsibility for a HADCO Commissioner is to insure the agency is in compliance with the law, willingness to go ahead with an illegal meeting just because he showed up should be sufficient reason for Mr. Luna to be rejected. 

The other glaring issue is Mr. Luna’s unwillingness to be accessible to members of the public.   I personally contacted him when he was first appointed to set up a meeting to discuss our views about HADCO.  Although he initially agreed, he later backed out of it citing that he wanted to get to know his fellow commissioners first.  He said he would get back to me after he had to meet them all.  That has been a few months now and he never has.  I have also been told by other constituents about attempts they made to call Mr. Luna regarding HADCO but according to them, he did not return calls.  This is coupled with a few public statements he has made about following the direction of staff.   Mr. Luna lacks the leadership skills to deal independently with HADCO’s constituency on a fair and equal manner.

There are a few other issues, which I will provide to you over the weekend.  These along with the above are more than enough evidence to put into question Mr. Luna’s continued position on the HADCO Board.   Just as there is evidence that Mr. Luna may not be the best choice, there is evidence that Joy Mayorga is. 

 As you are aware, Ms. Mayorga served on the board before and has proven she is able to provide the oversight of the agency that it needs.  Unfortunately in her prior tenure on the HADCO Commission her ability to affect change was greatly hampered due to those she served with, which will not be the same this time around.  She will provide the stability to the organization by providing appropriate leadership on the Board and she knows what needs to be done.  However, one of the most important things that makes her the front runner in our opinion is the support she has from those who probably know HADCO best, the residents. 

 It is my understanding that an informal petition in support of her appointment has been circulating among residents of HADCO and will be presented to you by Monday.   Although others who have applied may bring skills and experience to the HADCO Board that it could use, none have the knowledge of the agency, particularly the legal requirements of a Board member of a public housing authority, that Ms. Mayorga has.  This combined with the support of her fellow residents makes Citizens Education & Advocacy’s endorsement of her easy.   Since we have provided details of our reasons supporting her when she has applied before that still apply, I will not go into anything more.

Thank you for your time and consideration of input.

Sincerely,

Betsy Cunningham

Citizens Education & Advocacy (CEA)

cea2day@yahoo.com

(541) 459-4077

 _____________________

Dear Douglas County Commissioners:

             In the prior email, I set out two reasons Ernie Luna should not be reappointed to the HADCO Board of Commissioners.  Here are some additional issues regarding his short tenure that we believe are important for you to consider regarding his reappointment.

             Given there are a few other viable candidates that would better serve the interest of all in the community, these reasons should convince you that looking elsewhere for a person to fill the vacant seat might better serve to move the organization forward and reconcile issues with residents and other community members, which Mr. Luna had not demonstrated an ability to do and has only made matters worse. 

 1. Besides attending and participating in the Feb. 26, 2010 board meeting for HADCO against the advice of HADCO’s legal counsel, Mr. Luna stated his unwillingness and/or inability to provide independent oversight of HADCO when he stated in the audio recording from that meeting that he would differ to staff when he had questions.

2.  At hearing for the Annual Plan on March 8th 2010, was told that by voting in favor of approving HADCO Annual Plan without listening to all public comment and not recognizing what the previous board had approved just 2 months earlier that the Plan was not legal- voted to approve an illegal plan. Also he stated that he had not read the plan although he had it for more than a week.  Given the sole purpose of the meeting was a legally required public hearing on the Plan, it is part of his job as a member of the Board of Commissioners to read and understand this before voting on issues related to it.

3. March 2010 board meeting- when people tried to speak during the public comment at the end of the agenda, asked people if they only planned on talking about things that had no yet been discussed.

4. Called for the cancellation of April’s board meeting because one commissioner and Dolly were not going to be there. The board did not have their April meeting because Ernie did not want to have the meeting short one commissioner. However, he participated in the illegal February meeting with only 3 of the 5 commissioners present.

5. Resigned before he even was sworn in, then was talked into keeping the position so changed his mind again.   This should have been a harbinger of issues

6.  He still seems to be unaware that he is a public official who has responsibility and accountability to more than just some of his fellow commissioners and HADCO staff.

            Besides the above, I also want to emphasize again, Mr. Luna’s failure and, as we see it, his refusal to meet and seriously consider any opinion or position other than that presented by staff or certain other board members truly indicates that Mr. Luna is not cut out to be a public official and his continued service in the position will only be a disservice to HADCO and the people of this community. 

            Thank you again for your time and consideration.

Betsy Cunningham

Citizens Education & Advocacy (CEA)

(541) 459-4077

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