Oct 26, 2010 7:34 PM by Shawn Kline

HUD's plan for housing authority

"I feel like the staff is in place and the processes are in place."
That's the man the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is sending to Lafayette to help the housing authority get back on track, but how is he going to do that?
Rodriguez says his only intentions are to help mentor a new board and a new director but first things first: those positions need to be filled.
"I am here to provide assistance for the housing authority while it is in transition in the search for another executive director."
Dan Rodriguez is a HUD field officer; sent to Lafayette to help bring the housing authority back up to speed.
"My role here will be to assist them." Rodriguez says, "(I will) answer their questions and give them guidance on moving forward and to provide the proper information the board needs to have in order for them to make decisions."
The housing authority has seen a lot of change in the past 90 days:
In August, five board members were booted by Parish President Joey Durel but a district judge has since reinstated three of them- including Joe Dennis, Leon Simmons and John Freeman.
Then, resignations from Director Walter Guillory and his second in command, Jonathan Carmouche.
"I think they did the right thing," Durel said about their resignations.
Durel says there needs to be a fresh start at the housing authority and he's set his differences with the commissioners aside to help move the agency in the right direction.
"I have a little confidence." Durel says, "we're staying in touch with HUD as well as the commission itself."
"The mayor's interest is to have a board fully operational and a director to oversee the functions of this housing authority," Rodriguez said.
Commissioner John Freeman says he plans to have an interim director chosen shortly but until then, Freeman is taking on some of the director's responsibilities as approved by the three-man board Tuesday afternoon.


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