Housing Authority oversight still in question in Spa City
Officials in the Spa City continue to look into issues surrounding the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority, and some believe there is now confirmation the city has the authority to make changes. YNN's C.J. Spang has details.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- It started with bed bugs. Then came the complaints of nepotism and a questionable contract and salary for Ed Spychalski, the Executive Director of the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority.
"I look at this as just very poor oversight," said Saratoga Springs Accounts Commissioner John Franck. "Everybody's made mistakes. I'm not putting blame on anybody, but it's clear this board did not understand the law. And it's also clear to me, the city has not kept up with their duties to the taxpayers, because there are residents here."
The Saratoga Springs City Council has been trying to determine if it has the power to intervene. For some council members,a letter from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to U.S. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa confirms that's the case.
Part of the letter reads: "As you know, under our system of federalism, public housing authorities (PHAs) are entities created and governed by state and local governments, not by HUD or the federal government. Such state and local governments, through the boards they appoint, accordingly have a primary oversight responsibility with respect to PHAs."
"I think this is just another nail in the coffin toward going forward and retroactively bringing the salaries back to the 2006 level, or some other reasonable level," Franck said in reference to Spychalski's salary.
Whether or not oversight means enforcement is where some city council members disagree. Mayor Scott Johnson says this letter does not clarify that point and he has asked the state's Homes and Community Renewal agency for written clarification.
Commissioner Franck says if the mayor isn't willing to step in - than the city council will have to do so.