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Update: Derby Housing Authority Weighs Options

by Eugene Driscoll | Jun 30, 2017 8:31 am

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Posted to: Derby, Your Right To Know

The Derby Housing Authority commission formally accepted the resignation of its executive director during a meeting in Derby City Hall Thursday.

The commission then voted to put executive director Steven Nakano on paid administrative leave until Aug. 28.

Nakano has already accepted a job offer to become the executive director of the Ansonia Housing Authority.

The Derby housing commissioners Thursday also talked about selling the “Barron” building at the corner of Anson and Fifth streets in order to replenish the authority’s sagging monetary reserves, and to consult with an attorney to reorganize employee job descriptions in an attempt to save money.

Click the video above to watch the second half of Thursday’s meeting.

However, the commission took no formal action because its consultant and its labor lawyer were not available to attend Thursday’s meeting.

The moves come after financial problems at the housing authority were revealed after a commission meeting June 21.

The Derby Housing Authority is required to maintain a reserve fund of at least $106,000.

But the authority had just $18,000 in reserves at the start of the year, according to an email from an asset manager with the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority.

The same email noted the Derby Housing Authority had improperly used $220,250 from its reserves to buy the 17,000 square-foot “Barron” building in 2013.

The building was supposed to be redeveloped as senior housing.

The building purchase was hailed by former Mayor Anthony Staffieri’s administration, but did not move forward under Mayor Anita Dugatto’s administration due to a lack of parking for the project. Click here for more background on the Barron building effort.

The reserve fund is supposed to be used for capital improvements at housing authority properties, not for buying property.

Supervisors at the CHFA also questioned the Derby Housing Authority’s unauthorized use of a $211,870 “revolving fund.”

Click here for more information.

In an interview with The Valley Indy June 21, Derby housing commissioners Linda Fusco and Adam Pacheco both questioned the management effectiveness of Nakano, who had worked for the housing authority since 2007.

Nakano said the Derby Housing Authority’s financial problems originated with the purchase of the Barron building in 2013 and hat roadblocks that were erected.

In a text message Friday morning, Mayor Anita Dugatto took exception with the implication her administration put up roadblocks.

The mayor said her administration was willing to work with the previous members of the housing commission, the majority of whom have been replaced.

“Derby Housing Authority at the time never followed through on any opportunity the City of Derby offered,” the mayor said. “That is not roadblocking. That is incompetence and a disservice to those whom they served.”

Click here to read Dugatto’s previous reaction to the housing authority’s Barron building problem.

The current crop of Derby housing commissioners have hesitated somewhat to explicitly place blame, instead saying they didn’t want to point fingers.

The Derby housing commissioners also met in an executive session June 21 to confer with a lawyer and to talk about Nakano’s position.

At Thursday’s meeting, the three commissioners in attendance wished Nakano the best.

He was paid an annual salary in Derby of $107,632.

Ansonia Housing Authority officials declined to disclose his salary Thursday.

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