While pressure was mounting against her mismanagement of the Housing Authority of Douglas County (HADCO), Executive Director Dolly Newman jumped ship Tuesday. although no formal written notice has been received by the HADCO Board of Commissioners, two of the members were aware of her resignation when they arrived to a meeting that was supposed to be a public hearing on the housing authority’s annual plan required by HUD yesterday afternoon.
Although staff claims she only told them yesterday afternoon that she had taken another position, Ms. Newman gave no indication before now that she was looking elsewhere for employment. In fact, she used her final hours refusing to give one Board of commission member a copy of an audit that was a year and a half overdue, and fighting with yours truly about making an afternoon appointment so I could look at their Annual Plan.
Her departure was on the heels of getting notified by HUD (the federal agency that gives them our tax dollars) that they appointed a special investigator who was coming here to met with us regarding our complaints of her mismanagement. This was after we contacted Senator Merkley office, who sits on the Senate Committee that oversees HUD, and provided his office with documentation supporting our claims, including excessive spending on her out-of-town travel and training.
It was also after our local tv station KPIC started to take an interest in what HADCO doing after learning about a single mother of four that they were trying to evict for having too frequent a guest after she complained about HADCO trying to charge her rent she did not owe. She asserts that she had little problems for the past five years there until the property manager for the project she lives in on Stanton in Roseburg, which was shortly after the now former Executive Director was hired.
It is also after residents protested to HUD and elected representatives that Ms. Newman was violating the federal law that requires staff to work cooperatively with residents, particularly the legally required Residents Advisory Board (RAB). Their protest included complaints that she failed to provide them the information they requested to do their job and failing to list its members in HADCO annual plan that is required to go out for a 45-day comment period prior to a required public hearing.
It was after a series of lies that were catching up to her. She openly lied in a public meeting claiming that government officials like the Assistant Secretary of HUD over public housing Sandra Enriquez, Senator’s aide and state Ethics Commission employee contacted her claiming that HADCO Commissioner Jamie Sanchez had contacted them misrepresenting that she was doing so on behalf of the HADCO Commission when it did not happen. Although each of these folks may have spoken to Ms. Newman after inquires were made by HADCO Commissioner Sanchez, none of these people believed that Commissioner Sanchez was acting in any other capacity but as an individual. Lying about residents is a lot easier to get away with than lying about public officials and Senator’s aides.
After the her predecessor was fired, we did not believe we could have anyone worse, but we were wrong. Ms. Newman in her two short years did far more damage to our public housing agency than even the one before her. Unfortunately her legacy is still there in the way of staff (not all, just some) and at least two board members who were her former colleagues at Umpqua Community Development Corporation (UCDC), Ernie Luna and Shannon Gammie (who also do not work for UCDC anymore and have infested HADCO) and the only person still left on the HADCO Commission who voted to hire Ms. Newman, Chris Spens.
So although the folks in the community have won a great victory in ridding ourselves of at least one type of vermin at HADCO, our job is not yet done.
Congratulations to all the residents who overcame their fear of retaliation and stood up, sometimes the little guy does win.