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Governor's Proposal All But Abolishes Salem Housing Authority. What Do You Think?

Doing away with local housing boards is Gov. Patrick's idea for slashing public housing cost and corruption. Do you think that's a good idea?

The Salem Housing Authority, one of 240 public housing authorities across Massachusetts, would all but vanish as part of a proposal from Gov. Deval Patrick to streamline public housing management operations.

The purpose of local housing authorities is to manage and maintain subsidized housing and, often, to advocate for affordable housing for lower-income residents.

The administration reportedly estimates the consolidation would save more than $10 million a year in salaries and administrative costs.

According to the Boston Globe, while Gov. Patrick's proposal would centralize public housing management into six regional ­offices, a small number of managers and maintenance workers would remain at local housing author­ities.

And, says the Globe, cutting local boards would would do away with the need for more than 1,000 politically appointed commissioners.

A press release from the governor's says this about local input:

Underscoring the critical role that local communities play in supporting public housing, the legislation allows communities to retain control over land use and significant redevelopment decisions including change of use, ownership or the financing structure of an existing building or vacant land. RHAs will also be required to seek local input into an annual plan that outlines projected capital and operating expenditures and tenant participation activities. 

The consolidation move comes in the wake of troubling corruption scandals uncovered by the Globe, which were partly possible because holding hundreds of separate housing authorities accountable is a management challenge.

What we know so far of the governor's proposal sounds like a move toward more accountable, efficient government.

But would it also mean less local say and control over public housing in Salem? Does that matter to you?

What could and should change if control is transferred to regional offices?

John Merrett January 10, 2013 at 10:44 PM
Welcome Agenda 21
christine January 11, 2013 at 03:26 AM
Leading by example Please he should talk about the state crime lab scandle and how many convicts had to be set free, where is the accountability at the state level. The state only takes over the budget or so called management accountability when there is money to be made!
Jim Kearney January 11, 2013 at 03:32 AM
Good coverage (again) by Patch!
chris jackson January 11, 2013 at 09:19 AM
That's a great move by the governor ...wish he would address public library staff attacking disable persons on the motive of gossip ....its very clear their home life is not so great
Josh Turiel January 11, 2013 at 02:05 PM
In theory it's a good idea - I like the idea of cutting layers of management but on the other hand local accountability is a good thing. Also, there are some housing authorities that are awful and corrupt, but most of them are run fairly well. So this kind of throws out the baby with the bathwater.
chester suchecki January 11, 2013 at 07:23 PM
corruption runs far and wide in this state whether it be city or state . given the choice i would rather keep the salem housing authority the way it is. i donot want to deal with the state in any way at all.
Paul G Lima March 30, 2013 at 04:13 AM
Everyone in Public housing knows theses housing authority’s are corrupt from every direction. Extremely poorly run and highly manipulated by local oversight. Its a great idea but exercise great caution with oversight to be very vigilant and " PROPERLY FUNDED". Don't give oversight 5 dollars for a 100 dollars worth of problems. Another very serious problem are creating high crime areas with poor HUD oversight. HUD itself is very dysfunctional. Privatization of public housing is going to destroy and harm many people, “Look Out” . Keep housing properly funded and strictly regulated with great enforcement powers. Above all it must stay completely PUBLIC. Privation is not working in any sense!! Paul/ Salem , Mass

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