Just In Case You Need Another Dose Of PHA Grief…

According to an expose in the Inky yesterday (and as found by the mayor’s staff), this is how normal(er) cities’ bz_journal_picHousing Authorities work:

In New York, the mayor appoints all three housing commissioners, and the chairman of the housing agency reports directly to the mayor.

In Boston, the administrator of the housing authority reports directly to the mayor. In Seattle, all seven commissioners are appointed by the mayor, but approved by the City Council.

Even in Washington, where there are no fewer than 11 public housing commissioners, the mayor appoints five and controls the board through a sixth member, the deputy mayor.

Here in Philly, it’s, well, a little different. And that’s why, say writers Jeff Shields and Jennifer Lin, Mayor Michael Nutter has stayed mostly out of the Greene-Street-Philadelphia Housing Authority vomit party. He actually stated of the issue last week: “A couple of people have responsibility, but no one has ultimate authority. It’s stunning.

The Inky has enlightened some of us to the fact that PHA is a “state agency using federal dollars.”

M. Nutt actually has less sway over the state’s largest landlord than the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Of the PHA’s board members, two are appointed by the city controller, two by the mayor and those four pick a fifth to represent tenants. And because of the way the terms are laid out, the mayor can’t choose his appointments until several years into his term. Former mayor Street conveniently appointed himself control of the board before leaving office in 2008.

And PHA head Carl Greene is still in an undisclosed location in Maryland. Still undergoing medical treatment. Still suing the five-member board. Still likely waiting for this thing to blow over.

In related reading, another Inky post (an editorial) states the obvious based on their reporting: PHA needs new leadership. Oh, and there was this piece in the Delco Times which thought it was a good time to just, you know, go over many of the scandals in Philadelphia’s political history. Ha!

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