“We’d like to have some discussions with the mayor and with the Council president about future board members,” he says. “RHA is one of the boards that we do not vote on the mayor’s appointments. But nevertheless, I would say there are some of us on Council, myself included, who think that we should be consulted and involved in naming any members.”
The Rochester Housing Authority board has been under scrutiny following the abrupt dismissal of the agency’s executive director, Alex Castro, late last year. The board immediately replaced Castro, reportedly on an interim basis, with City Council member Adam McFadden, who is an ally of Mayor Lovely Warren. (Castro and the RHA recently reached a separation agreement.)
McFadden’s appointment was short-lived, however. He stepped down after the US Department of Housing and Urban Development — which provides millions of dollars to RHA annually — said that McFadden’s dual roles as Council member and RHA leader were in conflict. The agency is now searching for a permanent replacement for Castro.
A majority of the Rochester Housing Authority’s board members are new — appointed by Warren after she took office in January; it is common for a new administration to put its own people into key roles. And the Syracuse and Buffalo housing authorities both follow the same process as Rochester — the mayor appoints five members of the seven-member board, with the remaining two elected by the tenant population.
Haag says that Council members have long talked about playing a more active role in appointments to various city boards and commissions — separate from the RHA controversy.
Right now, the mayor of the City of Rochester appoints five of the seven members of the Rochester Housing Authority board. But some City Council members say that Council should have a role, too, says Council member Matt Haag.