Questions have been raised about the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority’s spending practices.
This includes purchases of supplies and equipment and how they contract work out to vendors.
Earlier this week, BMHA tenants went before the Buffalo Common Council to complain about poor maintenance and health conditions.
Council members said maybe the city should be looking into these issues.
“I want to be clear, I do not want the Council to have to micro-manage Buffalo housing. They have a board,” said Common Council President Darius Pridgen after hearing about serious health and safety issues from BMHA tenants, earlier this week.
Complaints ranged from mold, bedbugs, rats causing health problems, broken doors, windows, and pothole-riddled parking lots.
“The BMHA board has got to be responsive to the residents because when they are not the residents come to the council,” said Pridgen.
As a consequence, city lawmakers have turned to Buffalo’s inspections department to inspect 5 BMHA locations for code violations.
“This is a very big housing authority and it does not get turned around in a day, and it doesn’t get changed in a month,” said the Interim Executive Director for the BMHA, Gillian Brown.
Brown has only been on the job a few months.
In that time, he has already made a number of changes at the housing authority.
Brown has prior experience as the agency’s legal counsel and he says a substantial surplus of funds is unaccounted for.
Now, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is conducting procurement review to find out where the money went.
The procurement review is apparently authority-wide, and they are going to be going through how we do what we do to get supplies and equipment and purchase services,” said Brown.
“Hopefully they will be coming back with some good recommendations that I can implement.”
HUD’s Inspector General is conducting an audit of the BMHA that has actually been underway for several months.
Council President Pridgen is sponsoring a resolution calling on Gillian Brown and his management team to present their plan for improvement to city lawmakers within the month.