November 22, 2009

Housing Director

There is a story in the newspaper today about the City of Worcester Housing Director, Scott Hayman, being put on administrative leave. Before I comment, let me say how untrue it is when someone asks why I hate low to mod income housing. I don't!! My problem, however, is that in Worcester there is an over-reliance on low to mod income projects, when we are well beyond the Commonwealth of Massachusetts required level. We need market-rate housing!!

Same here, I like Scott Hayman, although I have questionned many of Scott's Housing policies and decisions over the past ten years. In fact, about 5 years ago an empty building went out for RFP on Gardner Street, right behind Moynihan's, that was awarded to Main South CDC. About 6 months after the award, I was told that Main South CDC was not interested and I could buy it through direct negotiations, since I owned the abutting empty lot.

About a month later, the Main South CDC changed their mind and now wanted to buy it? I questioned this since the initial RFP stated the winning bidder had to buy the property within either 30 or 60 days? It was now some 7 months later!!! The Executive Office of Neighborhood Services (EONS) disagreed with me and continued with the sale to the Main South CDC until I called the Inspector General, who agreed with me and ordered the property to be rebid. This prompted the Executive Director of the Main South CDC proceeded to call me a "pain in the ass" in Worcester Mag. Evidently asking for terms of an RFP to be enforced, which the Inspector General agreed was the right thing to do, is being a "pain in the ass"?

This one transaction exemplifies the whole problem with the City of Worcester Housing Policy and their over-reliance on CDC's, whose main function is to create more low to mod income housing in the City of Worcester. If Jahn, I or you had won the bid, you can bet that that we would not have gotten any extension to put up the cash to buy the property.

Exactly what the City of Worcester is looking into?? Don't know, but I have a couple of requests:
  • Review all LDA (Land Disposition Agreements) that have been signed the past five-seven years on properties conveyed via the RFP (Request for Proposal) process. Look no furter then the former Royal Linen property on Mason Street that was conveyed over 4 years ago, are they in compliance with the LDA?
  • Review the financial statements of the 5 NRSA's. How can the Beacon Brightly NRSA invest practically all of their monies to benefit the Main South CDC?
  • Review the policy, whereby a private party partners with a local non-profit partner, moves the property temporarily into the non-profits contol so that they can get EPA Brownfield Grant monies only to transfer it back when the clean-up is done. This was done on Mason Street and is proposed to be done at City Builders. Is this legal?
  • How do the same contractors time and time again get all the contracting work, who by the way, many of which are not based in Worcester?

Maybe this is a good time for the City of Worcester to review the whole direction of our Housing Policy. In 2003, we paid RKG some $25,000 to do a Housing Study and it was awesome. They nailed it and told the City of Worcester it was over-reliant on the CDC's and their quest to build low to mod income housing developments everywhere. RKG even suggested that we tear down three deckers to provide off street parking for the neighborhood, versus spending $600,000 to rehab a three decker.

At that time their conclusions were attacked, by those with a vested interest to see the current policy continue, and the City of Worcester caved, disregarded all the recommendations in the study and continued to do everything that RKG told us not to do. Check out my map. City Manager O'Brien and the City Council should not pay for another study, but merely dust off the RKG study, read the conclusion and change the whole direction of our Housing policy.

Lastly get ready for the wave of people, the same ones who attacked the RKG Study without knowing any of the facts that need the gravy train of Federal and State monies to keep building more low to mod income housing to support their livelihood, come to Scott's defense .


Jahn said...

I have voiced my concern on this blog a few times re: how they completely change the bid parameters, to the direct benefit of certain favored player(s)....AFTER....that's AFTER the bid has closed and been awarded.

I can site 3 examples with 100% writtten verification that is recorded at Reg. Of Deeds. The records on file at RD's are contrary to the paramters set out in the RFP.

The bids IMO should have been put out to re-bid.

Reading between the seems someone may have been overburdend at work and made a few innocent mistakes????

But What i reaaly would like to know is how one spends $300,000 to create one unit of low income housing that is only 1,100 sq ft? I was always under the impression that CDC's did not have to use union labor & were not subject to prevailing wage laws?????

Then of course we have these political hacks running these CDC's. Would a private real est/constr/ rental business ever hire people with zero credentials to run their way Jose' there a grand jury (supposedly secret) convened re WPD payroll gate...............this fiasco is 15 months old now.0

Paulie's Point of View said...

maybe it is time for this city to revisit it's entire urban renewal path and who it has employed that is responsible for WooTown's urban renewal...few know but those who have been involved know that this city has many who are not qualified to be in the positions that they hold and these positions are directly related to WooTown urban urban WooTown one hears more about CitySquare, homeless and no-lo income development and little of anything pardon the tables at the skating rink being locked also:>)

I can deal with a wee bit of nepotism and who you know..but this city is top heavy with this type of hiring and it has to end

Paulie's Point of View said...

Senor Jahn..this is more than one over worked guy....we had to scream bloddy murder to get NRSA financial reports..took almost 1.5 years to get the matter squared away...same department!

Jahn said...

Pualie, I said that kinda tongue in cheek. We do have to give teh auditors a chance to do their work. Problem is, it should not be city auditors, it S/b feds & state or whoever else is handing over all this money for NOLO constr.

I see thsi entire office of Neighborhoods servicees as a huge industrial complex that has as a corporate objective it's continued existence producing copious amts of NOLO.

I also always ask, just what exactly are the services they provide to neighborhoods...........police protection, trash hauling, fire protection, street resurfacing, sidewalk reconstr, etc, other words we have depts that already provide many services to 'hoods. So what serives does neighborr hood services provide?

IMO Neighborhoods Services is a euphemism for low income housing.......kind alike Devals revenue enhancements are a euphemsim for taxe increases.....or like how the term "hard working firemen" is a euphemism for sleeping on the job...

As in any executive/ managerial situation, I have to also ask where are or where have thsi individuals direct bosses been? THe boss over there i THINK(?) pulls down about 110- 115K per year.

I read the T&G blogs yesterday and a Mr. Steven Teasdale wrote a very positive blog about the individual in question. A Mr. Teasdale is allegedly the head man at Main South CDC......which CDC is a huge beneficiary of Neighbor Services handouts. H'es another 100K CDC chieftan. A Mr Teasdale should disclose the fact that Main South CDC has their umbilical cord lifeline tied directly to Nieghborhoods services.

I expect to see letter(s) to editor soon re: this topic/individual.....all positive.

On another note, What ever became of teh Canal District CDC that supposeldy closed their doors after alleged financial irregularities? I aint seen or heard nuttin about how that panned out???