Mar 22, 2011 11:48 PM by Shawn Kline

Ousted commissioners lurking; new LHA board "progressing"

Officials at the Lafayette Housing Authority say they're back on track after months of instability on the agency's board of commissioners.
The board is now taking a deeper look into open meetings laws after three commissioners were called into court.

There was a meeting earlier this year that had to be cancelled because of improper notice and a controversial meeting in October landed three commissioners in court. It's meetings like those that are forcing a new board of five to take a good look at the law.

"I think you will see more positive things coming out of this housing authority,"
That was the message from HUD representative Dan Rodriguez; who sees the housing authority moving in the right direction for the first time since this controversial audit was released last summer.

"We're going to improve the recording process to keep (the public) more informed." Rodriguez says, "and inform them more timely as to what they're going to discuss during the meetings."

"Perhaps the board of commissioners and some of the executive directors are not as well versed in the open meetings law and the intent of the open meetings law," Attorney Mark Falcon said.

Falcon is now serving as a legal advisor to the board of commissioners, asking them to read over open meetings laws after former commissioners Joe Dennis, Leon Simmons and John Freeman were removed because of a possible violation of the law.

"These types of violations are fixable," Falcon said. "They're easily fixable and all it takes is a little education and commitment to follow the law and that's what we intend to do."

"I think we've done a lot of progress." Rodriguez says, "I think we'll continue to do a lot of progress."

Even though City-Parish Government removed commissioners Joe Dennis, Leon Simmons and John Freeman, they're still technically board members until council has a hearing in court.
However, none of three were at Tuesday's meeting.



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