Governor's Proposal Expected to All But Abolish Westford Housing Authority. What Do You Think?

Doing away with local housing boards is reported to be Gov. Patrick's idea for slashing public housing cost and corruption. Do you think that's a good idea?

The Westford Housing Authority, one of 240 public housing authorities across Massachusetts, would all but vanish as part of what is expected to be a proposal from Gov. Deval Patrick to streamline public housing management operations.

The purpose of local housing authorities is to manage and maintain subsidized housing and, often, to advocate for affordable housing for lower-income residents.

The administration reportedly estimates the consolidation would save more than $10 million a year in salaries and administrative costs.

According to the Boston Globe, while Gov. Patrick's proposal would centralize public housing management into six regional ­offices, a small number of managers and maintenance workers would remain at local housing author­ities.

And, says the Globe, cutting local boards would would do away with the need for more than 1,000 politically appointed commissioners.

The consolidation move comes in the wake of troubling corruption scandals uncovered by the Globe, which were partly possible because holding hundreds of separate housing authorities accountable is a management challenge.

In the legislature, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) appreciated Patrick's decision to address the issue, but was concerned consolidation may not be the answer.

"We cannot be certain how effective the Governor’s proposal will be until we have all the details, but productive reform needs to be about more than a power shift to Boston of responsibilities currently handled locally," said Tarr.  "I look forward to working with all of the interested parties to produce needed and meaningful reforms.”


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