The Bloomberg administration’s proposal would replace NYCHA six-figure board members with volunteers who are paid modest per-diem fees.
As the chairman of the Citywide Council of Presidents that represents the 600,000 people that reside in the public housing communities of New York City, I believe that the mayor’s proposal to restructure the NYCHA board is outrageous and was submitted without input from the duly elected residents government who are directly impacted by the administration of the Housing Authority.
The city of New York wants to run the New York City Housing Authority like a modern day plantation or reservation. It is time to dispel this institutionalized practice of dictatorship and engage the resident leadership of NYCHA in practical negotiations on this and all other budget and policy that directly impact the residents of NYCHA.
The current condition of the NYCHA’s management is a direct result of political infighting that has yielded an institution rife with employee indifference and discontent. The mayor’s practice of policy without public discourse and legislation that leverages the pseudo-hysteria generated by political interests–which have used NYCHA as a feeding trough for special interests, must come to an end now.
The residents and the resident leadership propose that the governing board of NYCHA include the nine members of the already existing Citywide Council of Presidents, that five other members be appointed–one from each borough president — and that the position of chairman be selected by this resultant 14-member board.
How do the city and state of New York, both of which have disinvested in public housing, propose not only to govern an institution that houses one in every 12 New Yorkers and boasts 300,000 voters and just as many taxpayers, but also to re-centralize the power of appointments to the office of the mayor?
The fact that the members of the state legislature would entertain and introduce a bill without one single discussion with their public housing constituency leads one to conclude that they are willing to go along with the practice of dictating public governance policy without hearings or discussions on the matter.
The residents and elected officials that stand for reason and the sound management of the Public Housing Authority must stand with us and demand that the residents have input in the new structure of the governing board of NYCHA and inclusion in any new legislative proposal.
Therefore, over the next several days, the Citywide Council of Presidents Inc. will press our proposal for reform, and push to end the days of being used by the city, state and federal politicians as a political football. Residents are rising to demand our voices be heard and action be taken on our proposal for governing NYCHA. Enough is enough!
Mr. Reginald H. Bowman is the President Citywide Council of Presidents of the New York City Housing Authority, ReginaldHBowman@aol.com