Wednesday, October 29, 2014

RHA scandal scoreboard: everyone loses

Posted By on Wed, Oct 29, 2014 at 11:06 AM

click to enlarge Adam McFadden. - FILE PHOTO
  • Adam McFadden.
A key moment in the Rochester Housing Authority scandal will come when Adam McFadden’s three-month stint leading the organization ends. It’s never made sense to me why McFadden would step down from his long-term post with Quad A for a temp job, unless he expected to parlay that into the permanent position, or he was promised something else down the line.

Think about it: this could, in theory, end very badly for McFadden. If HUD says he can’t lead the Housing Authority and serve on City Council, which will he choose? In three months’ time, he could find himself without a job and without his Council seat. Though, I don’t believe that will happen.

Commenters on social media clearly don’t have a lot of love for McFadden, and many believe this whole thing is being choreographed by Mayor Lovely Warren and her mentor, State Assembly member David Gantt. Warren asks McFadden to resign from RHA, and he declines — which gives Warren political cover and sets McFadden up for a big reward after his three months are up.

Maybe that’s exactly what happened. But I’m struck by how eager people are to rob Warren of the benefit of the doubt. The whole thing MUST be a conspiracy. Seems to me she couldn’t win either way — whether she asked him to resign or not. And it’s not like the people shaking their heads now were big Warren supporters to start with. They’re people who, for whatever reason, don’t like her and are now only too gleeful to point out missteps.

Don’t get me wrong; there’s a lot about this RHA stuff that is maddening. The incestuous relationship of many of the involved parties — someone is somebody’s cousin, wife, donor. Misleading information provided by the RHA board chair. Obvious cronyism — yes, it’s everywhere in politics and life, but rarely is it so in-your-face. The arrogance with which the RHA board behaved at its only press conference on this matter. (Too often, people in these positions see themselves as up and coming political scene-makers who intend to use the job as a stepping stone. The actual mission of the agency is way down the priority list.)

No one comes out of this smelling good. How unfortunate for an agency that once enjoyed a national reputation and is charged with housing the most vulnerable of Rochester.

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