Saratoga Springs to vote on cleaning house at housing authority

Posted at: 03/04/2013 4:59 PM
Updated at: 03/04/2013 6:11 PM
By: Mark Mulholland

SARATOGA SPRINGS - What began with bed bugs at its high-rise complex has evolved into a full-scale battle.

There were complaints from residents who live in the federally subsidized housing and some complaints from members of the City Council that the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority's executive director's 150-thousand dollar a year salary was out of line.

There were complaints from the City Council that the Housing Authority failed to seek city approval for salary increases, as the law requires.

The state comptroller stepped in at the request of the mayor and did a months-long audit.

They released their findings in November and asked the housing authority to respond within 90 days.

The authority's board didn't respond in that time frame, reportedly saying there was no hurry.

"There was no hurry apparently to clean the bed bugs, there was no hurry to respond to the report and there's been no hurry to work with HUD and there's been no hurry to work with the city," said John Franck, Commissioner of Accounts. "That was the final straw for me that we just have to go forward and remove the board."

Eric Weller, the chairman of the appointed, unpaid board of directors of the housing authority accuses Franck of re-hashing complaints.

"He repeats the same old allegations as though they were facts," said Weller. "They've never been established as facts. The audit was clean in the sense that we were found guilty of nothing. Any of the charges that he made, they've all been de-bunked."

The City Council is expected to vote on the resolution at its meeting Tuesday night.