Marion County Housing Authority Board reviewing bills at a special meeting in late December.
The Marion County Housing Authority's former Executive Director has agreed to come out of retirement to help the authority get back on its feet.
The board has hired Evan Deadmond on an interim basis to sift through the agency's financial problems that has left a large stack of unpaid bills and concern over if the last payroll could be made. Deadmond replaces Allison Austin who was terminated for cause by the board at its December meeting.
"I feel that it will take us maybe 2-3 months to really get our feet on the ground, but we've already started and hit the ground running. Obviously I've only been here about 3 days at this point, but with the information that is being provided to me I just know that we can make it work. And I have absolutely nothing bad to say about the previous Executive Director, its a situation where that will take care of itself. I think compassion is a big thing in the office and maybe there was too much of it."
Deadmond says it appears most of the questionable expenditures that surfaced at a special meeting in December were the result of not following procedures and making too many exceptions to help people outside of the agency's guidelines.
"Most of the questions that came up at the board meeting we've already looked into it and have made decisions on how to report and will inform the Board of everything that takes place and what has taken place and how it can be resolved."
Deadmond is promising to have a budget in place by the end of the month to meet federal Housing and Urban Development regulations which have lowered the agency's rating on a 1 to 25 scale to 1.5. He believes almost all of the mark downs are the result of the agencies financial problems.
Deadmond said he found many changed or dismantled policies since he retired 15 months ago. He plans to study what has changed and what needs to be changed back. Deadmond will also look at personnel to see how many are needed.
Deadmond has answered specific questions about unexplained bills. He reports the two painters who were being paid $3,333 a month were doing inside painting work of authority units, but contracts for the project were never finalized. The two painters were terminated at the special meeting. Deadmond says three trucks purchased without going through HUD procedures may have to be sold to clear up that issue. He believes Austin was trying to help a woman with five children by allowing her to stay in an apartment and drive a housing authority vehicle out of compassion, but without following procedures. Deadmond says the agency is now trying to properly get the woman a housing authority unit.
Deadmond plans on visiting all of the creditors on the agencies list of $200,000 unpaid bills to explain the situation. He feels the overdue payments can be cleared up within a few months.
Deadmond doesn't plan on staying long in the position, but says he will stay until the problems are resolved and to help find a new executive director.