Ypsilanti City Council requests immediate resignation of remaining housing commissioners
More from this meeting: HUD: Ypsilanti at risk of losing entire public housing program
The Ypsilanti City Council voted in favor of a resolution removing the Ypsilanti Housing Commission’s board president and is now requesting the immediate resignation of the remaining board members.
Council Member Pete Murdock amended the original resolution, which sought only to remove Ma’Cheryl Jones from the commission, to include the other commissioners.
"We seem to be more interested in saving the bureaucracy than the residents (the commission) needs to serve," Murdock said. "Those are the people that brought us to the disaster we’re in now. I think they need to be done. They’re the ones that jeopardized families rent payments and Hamilton Crossing."
In addition to Jones, Deborah Strong, E. Renee Smith and Bernice Ethington currently serve on the board.
Council voted in favor 7-1, with Council Member Daniel Vogt being the single no vote.
Immediately following the vote, Mayor Paul Schreiber said his yes vote was not in favor of the amendment but instead the original part of the resolution. Vogt said he voted no because of the amendment.
Schreiber reminded council commissioners are nominated and removed by the mayor and then approved by the city council.
Despite the amended resolution passing, only Schreiber can recommend the remaining commissioners being removed.
Schreiber said soon, there might be “other actions in line” but YHC bylaws state there must be a quorum of at least three members appointed in order for business to be conducted.
“I want to ensure that at least three commissioners are on board at all times,” he said. “The commissioners have a lot of business to do with the Section 8 program transfer.”
“In order to remove the housing commissioners, it takes the consent of the mayor,” he said. “The commissioners understand the gravity of the situation. I’ve spoken with every commissioner.”
Although Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson voted in favor of the resolution, she was hesitant to back the amendment and said council needs to receive confirmation that there would be enough people to replace the removed commissioners.
“I just can’t agree to remove all unless we have people ready to add to the board,” Richardson said. “To completely remove everyone, would that mean housing would have to close? My sole desire in this whole thing to see housing continue.”
Richardson said the board of commissioners are not the only ones that need to be removed. Richardson said Interim Director Eric Temple is at fault as well for the financial restraints facing the commission.
"We're sidestepping the elephant in the living room and that elephant is the interim housing director," she said."If he was handling the day-to-day operations and handling the finances and turning in the reports, I think that is enough right there. I agree with Mr. Murdock, we must keep the interest of people living there first and foremost."
Murdock acknowledged his amendment was his way of going "on the record" to show council does not support the current commissioners.
"Just two weeks ago, the council requested to remove them," he said. "It seems that we can't do that. It needs to happen and it shoud have happened months ago. The mayor had a chance to make these changes and now we’re here when it's hitting the fan and the mayor is still stonewalling."
Richardson mentioned during the meeting that council members are in the process of trying to find suitable replacements for Schreiber to consider. Council is expected to discuss possibly approving the nomination of Ypsilanti resident Amy Grettum.
Grettum has been recommended by Schreiber to be on the board. Grettum, a U-M graduate, previously served as a Michigan State Housing Development Authority inspector in 2003 through 2005. While there, Grettum inspected MSHDA affordable housing units in the Detroit area.