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Posted on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 1:55 p.m.

City Council votes to remove Ypsilanti housing commissioner, appoints 2 new members

By Katrease Stafford

The Ypsilanti Housing Commission will undergo more leadership changes after a Tuesday City Council vote to immediately remove a sitting commissioner and approve two new appointments.


Bernice Ethington

Courtesy Ypsilanti Housing Commission

Commissioner Bernice Ethington will be removed from the board after being appointed in Oct. 2010. The decision comes almost two months after council voted to remove former YHC board president Ma'Cheryl Jones.

The City Council voted 6-0 in favor of the changes. Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson was not present for the vote.

After the changes, the board has four commissioners.

The original resolution on the Tuesday agenda was to approve the new appointments of Tabitha Boone and Ariel Moore. However, Council Member Pete Murdock moved to table the appointments because he thought Ethington should first be removed before any new appointments were made.

Commissioners are nominated and removed by the mayor and approved by council.

"There was discussion we had this afternoon that you were going to remove people from the board," Murdock said to Mayor Paul Schreiber. "You chose not do that so that’s why we’re where we’re at."

Schreiber didn't agree at the time and said a recovery agreement for the commission required that a full board be in place by Nov. 1. A full board would consist of five commissioners. The council approved the plan earlier this month that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says will revive the troubled commission.

Earlier this year HUD said the Ypsilanti Housing Commission's Section 8 Voucher Program was facing a $228,407 shortfall due to mismanagement and improper financial reporting practices. HUD warned Ypsilanti might lose its entire public housing program.

In September, council members implored Schreiber to remove the remaining members, including Ethington, E. Renee Smith and Deborah Strong, but Schreiber said a quorum of at least three members must be appointed in order for business to be conducted.

Tuesday, Schreiber said he was initially hesitant to remove Ethington because in the past, there was a pattern of council not appointing commissioners.

"I don’t want to remove and then we don’t have a quorum," Schreiber said. "It's important we have a housing commission in place too continue the transfer of the Section 8 program and to select a new director. There’s a lot of work to be done. I am not disagreeing with council's wishes.

Schreiber eventually agreed with council, on the condition that it would approve both Boone and Moore if he recommended the removal of Ethington.

Boone will serve as a resident commissioner on the board, something called for in the recovery plan. Boone grew up in public housing in Flint and served as a youth organizer for the Flint housing commission for three years.

Moore has a masters in business administration from the University of Michigan Business School and has held various financial management positions within DTE Energy, where she still works.

All of the commissioner positions are unpaid.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 9:22 a.m.

Ann Arbor HC has been in a 'troubled status' since 2007, one and a half years ago Ann Arbor restructured its Housing Commission removing commissioners, replacing program staff and shifting their $hortfall payback to the backs of their current program participants. This is what Ma'Cheryl Jones and YHC fought to prevent they were slandered for refusing to lower YHC's payment standard to balance the books. When a HC lower the payment standard the amount the family must pay monthly for rent drastically increases; while at the same time significantly reducing the amount the HC pays out on their behalf. Ann Arbor's Housing Commission gave very little consideration to the effect this would have on families, AAHC lowered their payment standard and participants found themselves paying 70% of their monthly income for rent. Drastically increasing a family's rent from 30% to 70% of their monthly income to cover up AAHC misappropriations is shameful. If the PHC has an unrecoverable shortfall and lowering the payment ceiling is the only option then do it incrementally!


Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 8:49 a.m.

Ypsi leaders don't grandstand and point fingers, educate yourselves on the issue, gather information and work togher on a plan of action. Granted YHC has a lot of problems but so does all of the country's housing commissions, since 2008 almost all public housing commissions (PHC) are in a 'troubled status' or a 'recovery status'. HUD has 131 public housing commissions in Michigan and all have had financial discrepancies. In 2010 MSHDA owed $850,000 in recovery funds; in these situations the staff may have calculated an overpayment/underpayment of rent paid on the families behalf or a piece of supporting documentation may be missing from the file, or the person moved into a unit before the date of the inspection thus making any payment of rent a disallowed/ineligible expenditure. When the proper docs are submitted the charge is removed if not the program is required to pay itself back from a non-federal source. Ann Arbor HC has been in a 'troubled status' since 2007, one and a half years ago Ann Arbor restructured its Housing Commission removing commissioners, replacing program staff and shifting their $hortfall payback to the backs of their current program participants.

Michigan Man

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 11:58 p.m.

The perp looks pretty happy in the picture above - sounds like her bank account just got bigger!

Paul Schreiber

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

The report on the YHC Section 8 finances by an outside accounting firm is available at

The Black Stallion3

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 7:31 p.m.

It just amazes me that no one wants to find out who took the money and where it went? This town is starting to resemble Detroit in more ways than one.

Jonathan Blutarsky

Thu, Nov 1, 2012 : 3:35 a.m.

Great double entendre - very Ritzy...


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

It' s a sister city, that's why they ll need to go.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

We need to get on this to officially ask the Ypsilanti mayor where the money went and what is going to be done about it.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

Missmangement or misappropriation of funds, take your choice they all need to go.


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

Politicians get away with this type of waste and criminal behavior all of the time because they know the voters have no guts and will not hold them accountable. My do we have deep pockets!


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

Did anyone ask them if they could balance a check book at the interview this time?


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 6:31 p.m.

do you think this commission can now start announcing their meetings in a way that allows the public to attend?

The Black Stallion3

Wed, Oct 31, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

Why are we not prosecuting someone for the $228,407 shortfall due to mismanagement? Should the tax payers be expected to just forget about this?