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Governor's Proposal All But Abolishes Peabody Housing Authority

Doing away with local housing boards and consolidating individual offices into six regional ones is Gov. Patrick's idea for addressing waste and corruption in the public housing system. Do you think that's a good idea?

The Peabody 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 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.

Patrick filed his reform legistation Thursday.

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 Peabody? Does that matter to you? What could and should change if control is transferred to regional offices?

Tanner January 10, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Get your information correct before writting a false article
John Castelluccio (Editor) January 10, 2013 at 08:30 PM
Tanner, I did not write this particular article as you can see from the byline, but I am the editor here. What about this story is "false?"
Saber Walsh January 11, 2013 at 03:35 PM
There's a lot of reorganization happening with the state. It's unclear as to whether this is to "reduce waste" or to create "uber-hack" positions. Most of the reorganizations happening in this administration are suspect, at best. For example, Patrick's recent announcement that the State Board of Pharmacy would be primarily lay people is about the dumbest thing I ever read. Would we sit back if the White House told the FAA that it would still be involved with accident investigations but the majority of those involved with finding out the root cause would be hacks? So hard to say on this one, but I haven't seen one move from our state's Executive Branch that didn't involve the introduction, promotion, or transfer of a hack.

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