Although Amber Powell was on the agenda for the special meeting of the HADCO Board of Commissioners last Thursday (12/09 /10), Commissioner Shannon Gammie was quick to stop her from getting a hearing before the body. Commissioner Gammie claimed she talked with HUD staff in Portland who told her the HADCO Board of Commissioners had not authority to overturn a HADCO Hearing Officer’s decision. Unfortunately, the HUD staff person she was quoting was not available to address whether or not she told Commissioner Gammie this or not. Regardless the information is wrong.
Public Housing Authorities (PHA) are governed by both state and federal law. Most of the federal law jurisdiction comes form the money the PHA gets to operate the Section 8 and public housing program through HUD (federal Housing and Urban Development). The rules or regulations that HADCO and other PHA must operate under are set out in the Code of Federal Regulations. Here is the code that acknowledges the authority of a PHA ie HADCO’s Board of Commissioners to overturn a Hearing Officer’s decision.
“§ 966.57 Decision of the hearing officer or hearing panel.
(a) The hearing officer or hearing panel shall prepare a written decision, together with the reasons therefor, within a reasonable time after the hearing. A copy of the decision shall be sent to the complainant and the PHA. The PHA shall retain a copy of the decision in the tenant’s folder. A copy of such decision, with all names and identifying references deleted, shall also be maintained on file by the PHA and made available for inspection by a prospective complainant, his representative, or the hearing panel or hearing officer.
(b) The decision of the hearing officer or hearing panel shall be binding on the PHA which shall take all actions, or refrain from any actions, necessary to carry out the decision unless the PHA Board of Commissioners determines within a reasonable time, and promptly notifies the complainant of its determination, that
(1) The grievance does not concern PHA action or failure to act in accordance with or involving the complainant’s lease on PHA regulations, which adversely affect the complainant’s rights, duties, welfare or status;
(2) The decision of the hearing officer or hearing panel is contrary to applicable Federal, State or local law, HUD regulations or requirements of the annual contributions contract between HUD and the PHA.
(c) A decision by the hearing officer, hearing panel, or Board of Commissioners in favor of the PHA or which denies the relief requested by the complainant in whole or in part shall not constitute a waiver of, nor affect in any manner whatever, any rights the complainant may have to a trial de novo or judicial review in any judicial proceedings, which may thereafter be brought in the matter.”
Emphasis is added, but the above is a direct quote from the Code of Federal Regulation.
I sent an email to the person Ms. Gammie claims told her the HADCO Board had no authority to do this, but the HUD representative is out of the office until the 17th.
It is a matter that Ms. Gammie does not want to overturn the decision, not matter the reason. Maybe the folks that she is representing on the HADCO Commission (meaning everyone in Douglas County) should ask her why?
Now Ms. Gammie was not alone in this effort to derail the resident’s effort to get a fair hearing from the HADCO Commission, but joined by Commissioners Chris Spens and Ernie Luna. Spens second Ms. Gammie’s motion to take the request off the agenda, citing that he had no idea what this was about because he had no information about the case, yet he failed to tell folks in the public meeting that Ms. Powell’s efforts to reach him as a public servant were ignored. According to the resident, she tried contacting all five HADCO Commissioners and the only ones who would talk to her were Commissioners Jamie Sanchez and Stuart Leibowitz.
So instead of listening to this resident, a majority of the HADCO Commissioners decided to use taxpayer’s money and let the court decide.
What you don’t know as a taxpayer can hurt you!