Easton’s former housing director spent hours at work sending flirtatious e-mails to various men, then resigned before an audit last June showed she had badly neglected the apartment buildings she was supposed to manage. By then, Susan Horner had a new job: teaching other housing officials how to improve their performance.
The housing director in Winchester has a second full-time job as a courthouse lawyer, requiring him to be away from the housing authority for 31.5 hours a week the last three years. When the law office learned about Joseph M. Lally’s second job, it froze his pay and launched an audit of his work. But Winchester officials did nothing, saying they’re satisfied Lally gets his town work done on nights and weekends.
Peabody’s former housing director resigned after TV cameras caught him spending much of the work week in local sports bars and social clubs in 2009. Nonetheless, the housing authority board let Frank Splaine stay on the payroll for five extra months, helping to boost his pension, and gave him a $27,000 severance check to boot.
Housing directors face remarkably little accountability for their work managing housing for more than 300,000 elderly and low-income people in Massachusetts, a Boston Globe investigation has found. Though the federal and state governments pump $1.2 billion a year into local housing budgets, oversight comes from local boards mainly chosen by mayors or in little-noticed elections. All too often, no one is sharply focused on how money — or time — is spent.
In the worst cases, tenants pay the price for inattentive or indifferent management, enduring leaky roofs, bad heating, rodent infestation, and other hardships.
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