City comptroller wants BMHA audited, acting director wants time

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Buffalo’s comptroller is calling out the BMHA for unfairly awarding more contracts to a company that has a personal relationship with one of the Authority’s supervisors.

Comptroller Mark Schroeder says he wants the agency to pay for an internal audit of the organization in order to identify and fix spending and contract bid practices.

The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority has faced criticism for awhile, culminating in its former executive director’s abrupt departure earlier this year.

Acting Executive Director Gillian Brown took over in March and says he’s trying to change it for the better. Brown, who has been in charge for a little over five months says an internal audit is unnecessary when the Department of Housing and Urban Development and its Inspector General already audit the authority at will.

Brown feels the money that would be spent to hire an auditor and perform the audit could instead go toward improving housing. Schroeder says BMHA residents, who in part pay for their housing conditions, live in “squalor.”

“Over the years, the BMHA has proved that they are inept, they don’t have the right management team,” Schroeder said. “It appears they don’t have the right processes in place, and so we would want to do a full audit, an internalized audit.”

Brown says Schroeder should give him a chance.

“I believe that I and the Mayor’s newly appointed Board of Commissioners should be given the time we need to make the necessary structural and policy changes at the BMHA before we have this immediate reaction of hiring and auditor,” Brown said,

Brown acknowledges that GFY Services did in fact receive more work; He says he’s working on structural and management changes that need to be done so that things like that don’t happen going forward.

Schroeder also called on Mayor Byron Brown to do more. Mayor Brown’s spokesperson tells News 4 he does not support an audit because it would be duplicative of HUD’s Inspector General audit, which is already underway and that Gillian Brown is too new in position to pass judgment.

According to Schroeder, the Buffalo Common Council is scheduled to discuss the possibility of an audit next Tuesday.

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