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Posted on Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

Ypsilanti Housing Commission employee has felony conviction

By Tom Perkins

An Ypsilanti Housing Commission employee and former Ypsilanti Public School Board trustee is a convicted felon who was jailed for 10 days in 2009 while he was still apparently an employee of the YHC.

Eric Temple, who has been employed as an administrative specialist with the Housing Commission since 2004, was convicted of felonious theft between $1,500 and $20,000 in January 2002 for writing a bad check for a new car in his former hometown of Missouri City, Texas, near Galveston.


Eric Temple

Records show Temple was sentenced to five years probation and allowed to leave the state to take his job at the YHC. According to an official with the Brazoria County Sheriff’s Department, Temple failed to complete the terms of his probation, was held by the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department and transported to Texas to be jailed in April 2009.

He remained jailed from April 28 to May 8, and court records indicate that he wasn’t allowed to leave Texas until June 5. Records also show Temple had two other convictions for writing bad checks dating back to 1991.

What remains unclear is how Temple’s employment at the Housing Commission during that time was handled. Temple and Housing Commission Executive Director Walter Norris declined to comment, and YHC Board of Commissioners either did not return calls from or declined to comment. is seeking to obtain Temple’s employment record.

Although Housing Commission officials have declined to discuss Temple or the nature of his job, Mayor Paul Schreiber said in an interview that Temple took care of daily financial details. Minutes from City Council's regular Feb. 21 meeting show Schreiber introduced Temple as the Housing Commission's "Finance Manager."

An attorney for the Housing Commission said the agency is reviewing its policies regarding the situation. The city recently eliminated a question asking potential employees if they are convicted felons from their applications, and there are no rules against the city hiring felons. There is also nothing in the YHC employee handbook that says the agency can't hire felons.

The issue was brought to the public’s attention by Ypsilanti resident Bob Hunter during public comment of City Council’s Feb. 21 meeting. Hunter told council Temple is a convicted felon and questioned why he was employed.

City Attorney John Barr recommended council pass a resolution requesting the YHC Board of Commissioners take some kind of action on the situation or investigate it. However, the issue is not on the council’s agenda for the regular March 6 meeting.

“Since the matter has come to the attention of City Council, it is my recommendation that council request the commission to investigate and take any appropriate action and report back to council,” Barr said in the memo to City Manager Frances McMullan.

City Council has no control over who is fired or hired at the Housing Commission. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development delivers federal funding to local housing commissions that manage property for low-income residents, and the agencies must comply with strict HUD guidelines and standards.

The housing commission’s staff is overseen by the board of commissioners whose members are appointed and removed by City Council, giving the city at least an indirect way of influencing what happens at the Housing Commission.

Schreiber was chairman of the Housing Commission Board of Commissioners when Temple was hired in 2004. While the Board approves candidates who are hired, the executive director does interviews and vetting, Schreiber said. He said it was a similar arrangement to the city manager hiring city employees. Council doesn’t vet or interview employees who don’t play a top role in running the city.

Schreiber said Executive Director Walter Norris hired Temple and didn’t reveal that Temple had a felony conviction.

He said the board wasn’t made aware of the felony conviction and he had never heard anything about it until Hunter brought up the issue during public comment.

But he said Temple has done a good job at the housing commission.

"He does a lot of detail work and I think he has done a good job at it," Schreiber said.

Temple was also appointed the he YPS school board and served a partial term from April 2007 to June 2008. He has since unsuccessfully run for a seat on the board.

Norris and Temple worked together at the Galveston Housing Authority before Norris was terminated from that post in 1996 following a consultant's "highly critical evaluation of his administration," the Galveston Daily News reported.

A report on the issues from the consultant said the Galveston Housing Authority staff members were not open to the public and that financial information presented to the board was “inadequate, unclear, incomplete and if provided, not done so in a timely manner.”

The YHC has recently come under fire from HUD for similar issues and is working through a sustainability plan to try to correct issues within the agency.

Tom Perkins is a freelance writer for To contact the news desk email or call 734-623-2530. For more Ypsilanti stories, visit our Ypsilanti page.


Abigail Small

Fri, Mar 9, 2012 : 12:46 a.m.

Through hearsay, I was told that Mr. Temple would end up being a scapegoat for those above him who are the real problem with YHC. Investigators should follow the money trail and start asking more serious and in depth questions regarding the decisions of those in the appropriate positions. Continue to look up. Noone even mentions the incident when Mr. Walter Norris was caught by authorities trying to remove files from the Pontiac Housing Authority after he was terminated from that position.

Abigail Small

Thu, Mar 8, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

I have been a resident at YHC for quite some time now, served as president of the resident council, and resident commissioner on the YHC Board of Commission. I think Eric has done a good job considering his position-Executive Assistant. He should, however, be the deputy director with the extensive responsibilities he has. Mr. Temple would not be the first or only felon they have hired. I believe the problems of the Housing Commission root from the people in higher rolls, including the board. I believe there is a complete lack of oversight at the board level and above including at the city level. Mr. Temple consistantly makes the tough decisions that his position requires and he goes above and beyond his duties at times. He is an employee like everyone else in that office and I believe a closer look needs to taken towards Mr. Norris, the Board of Commission, and the City of Ypsilanti for allowing the continued mismanagement of YHC and further deprivation of the poor that live in their housing. I really believe he's being used as a scape goat and this is a ploy to redirect the public's attention from the YHC and the City of Ypsilanti's role in the incompetencies they've allowed to continue.


Thu, Mar 8, 2012 : 7:52 p.m.

Exactly. Now they can fire this guy, pat themselves on the back over how they're "cleaning up the mess," and continue to do business as usual.


Thu, Mar 8, 2012 : 3:02 p.m.

Did he submit phony, inflated expense vouchers to the county in order to be reimbursed for expenses for which he was not entitled to be reimbursed? Did he refuse to pay back the county once it was determined that he received money illegally? Perhaps there are some others who should be prosecuted. I suppose it's easier to go after an out of towner who's simply doing his job, than it is to go after a member of Washtenaw county's politically elite families.

Mark Hergott

Thu, Mar 8, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

Well, this certainly does not look good. I still am not ready to condemn Mr. Temple. Call me a bleeding heart, but without evidence of current and ongoing impropriety, I am going to just be wary.

City Confidential

Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 8:17 p.m.

Municipal government has an image problem - mainly due to shocking abuses like the ones perpetrated by Kilpatrick and other corrupt, narcissistic confidence men & women. This image problem now means that many people don't want to pay taxes and don't trust government to have the best interests of the community or the taxpayer in mind. Every time that a convicted felon is hired by a friend to handle the tax payers' money, that trust erodes further. I understand the sentiment behind the idea that felons/ex-cons deserve a chance to redeem themselves and will have to get jobs in order to become productive members of society, but that does not need to be in a government job. If Mr. Temple is so skilled and competent, he should be able to find a nice private sector job. The taxpaying public has enough mistrust of government without secretive felons in charge of municipal finances.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 4:50 p.m.

For more on the subject of the YHC, you also might want to recall this one: <a href=""></a>


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 4:46 p.m.

When you put this story with the previous one at <a href=",">,</a> you get a larger, more disturbing picture. For those of us in Ypsilanti who have watched the YHC over the years, this is not a surprise. This is a topic that has been quietly talked about in certain circles for years. This is not a witch hunt. This is bringing to light something that should have been uncovered five years ago or more.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

With the problems facing Ypsilanti they must terminate these type of employees or risk ending up in the same situation that Detroit is now in. The city can not continue to employe convicted felons when there are so many worthy reliable and trustworthy people out of a job.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

The best predictor for future behavior is past behavior. If he would have had a felony for a bar fight I would be OK with it but someone who has committed fraud repeatedly is not fit for these positions.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

This article isn't about Eric Temple being a felon. The article is about him going to jail while he was employed by the housing commission!!! The article is about the housing commissioner Walter Norris declining to talk about whether or not Eric Temple was being paid during his incarceration. If there was no wrong-doing, let's hear it!!! There is already a big investigation of the housing commission by HUD. This is another example of how this housing commission is being mismanaged and has no oversight from its commissioners.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 3:31 p.m.

If you do not understand the issue then you will never understand the problem.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 2:11 p.m.

If he had accumulated sufficient personal time then what's the issue?


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

This country prosecutes and incarcerates its own citizens at a higher rate than any civilized country, then asks for that information on job applications for the rest of one's life. We give people the choice of lying to be employed or becoming dependent on the state. I'm glad the man has a job. If you have some evidence of wrongdoing in his position then report it. Otherwise, leave him alone.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

While I agree until there is evidence of wrong doing there is no reason to &quot;out&quot; the guy. Some oversight is in order. I can tell you this there are many people that wish the Ann Arbor Amateur Hockey Association had done some oversight.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

and then there are the requirements of Section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act. While not directly related to this instance, those requirements are used as a benchmark for trustworthy employees dealing with government money used by many many many employers. Might YHC adopt such a standard?


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

Writing bad checks seems to be a basic disqualification for a finance job in government or quasi government on the face of it. Walter Norris Walter Norris Walter Norris!! PR train wreck. My question the Ypsilanti Housing Commission doing its job effectively? Can you look in to that Tom? I ask because it seems that executive director might not be and the agency seems to have a ton of money to spend and certainly the employees are incredibly well-paid. So is the job getting done?


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 6:22 a.m.

No story here folks. Move along. Why print a story unless Mr. Temple is suspected of wrongdoing in his current position? No policy against hiring a felon at the city or housing commission. This is one of those stories where the .com should use better judgement before releasing. He's done nothing wrong based on this report, yet we post a story that could have major impact on this individual and at a minimum is embarrassing. One kudos goes out to city council for doing away with the &quot;felon&quot; box.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

I do not believe in hiring a thief to clean your house....not a good idea.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 4:08 a.m.

While I don't know him, I've met and spent some time with Eric - he seems like a good man.

Tom Perkins

Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 2:56 a.m.

I have updated the story with more information on Temple's role at the Housing Commission. According to Mayor Paul Schreiber, Temple is involved with the YHC's finances.

Tom Perkins

Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

<a href=""></a>


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 12:45 p.m.

Tom, again, has this employee done anything WRONG IN HIS JOB at YHC? You insinuations are not convincing.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 2:07 a.m.

I think it's only relevant if the past criminal convictions are directly related to the duties of the job. For example, bank tellers should not be hired if they have prior convictions involving fraudulent financial transactions or theft or prior termination from a similar position. School teachers should be screened for prior convictions involving child abuse, sexual crimes with children, being fired from a school district, etc. Does this employee handle money in his job? Have there been any financial irregularities in his department since he was hired? If people with past convictions are not able to get employment when the convictions are not related to their new job, then society is not giving these people a chance to become productive citizens. There are a few unanswered questions here: (1) what was the nature of the failure to complete the terms of his probation that prompted the jail time, and (2) did Temple reveal his past conviction to Norris prior to being hired? &quot;The issue was brought to the public's attention by Ypsilanti resident Bob Hunter during public comment of City Council's Feb. 21 meeting. Hunter told council Temple is a convicted felon and questioned why he was employed.&quot; Who is Bob Hunter, how did he find out about Temple's prior convictions, and why is he making a big deal out of this? Hopefully will follow-up with more information.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 6:25 a.m.

@Tom Maybe this is why you would hold the story until there is more information to report on it. Something directly related to his current job and having more details from the old case. Just sayin'.

Tom Perkins

Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 3:52 a.m.

@JRW &quot;Does this employee handle money in his job?&quot; Please see my post below. &quot;what was the nature of the failure to complete the terms of his probation that prompted the jail time?&quot; Court documents I obtained weren't entirely clear on details, but he failed to make required payments to the court and/or victim. has requested a police report through the Freedom of Information Act that will clarify what happened. &quot;(2) did Temple reveal his past conviction to Norris prior to being hired?&quot; As is stated in the article, no one at the Housing Commission is answering this kind of question. Hopefully records requested through the Freedom of Information Act will shed some light on what happened.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 2:04 a.m.

Cash, According to court records he failed to complete the terms of his probation including failing to pay restitution to the victim. He was in jail for much longer than a week (he had jail time in Michigan and Texas), and by some accounts may have been off work for several months. While the city no longer asks about felony convictions now, back then they did and lying on an employment application can be grounds for termination. Someone should check to see if he answered truthfully on all parts of his employment application and any applications or information given to HUD or any Federal or State Agency as part of his job duties. Secondly, did he truthfully answer all questions asked in person and in writing as part of his application and interview to fill the vacancy on the School Board. A question unanswered, during his time not working, who was paying his benefits like health insurance and retirement and was he still drawing a salary or other consideration from the City or YHC during his absence and jail time?


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 11:35 a.m.

Witch hunt part 2. Who is after this man, and why? I'd be more interested in that story.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 1:22 a.m.

SO WHAT? Is the guy supposed to be a second class citizen the rest of his life? Yellow journalism at its finest.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 1:04 a.m.

Have you taken a look at First Ct and Armstrong lately? That is run by the Ypsilanti Housing Commission..........People don't call it the &quot;projects&quot; for nothing! Need I say more!


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 2:32 a.m.

Yes, please, go on...


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 12:20 a.m.

Thanks, Tom. Nice work.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

Finally someone is starting to expose the housing commission for what it is. Way to go Tom!!!


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

It is called preventive maintenance, you do not hire someone that smokes to stack hay in the barn.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 6:28 a.m.

And this exposes what? That an employee has a felony? Not sure how it's a story at this point. Not saying there's nothing there, but putting this out before you really know anything just seems like headline chasing at best.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 12:05 a.m.

This article smacks of a witch hunt. What did he do that violated his probation? They only held him for a bit over a week? Was it something that was cleared up in that week? If that was cleared up then what's the issue? He's not running the YHC right? He works there. And the mayor says he is doing a good job. Are we now on a witch hunt for a felon who has served his sentence and now wants to work? Going to &quot;out&quot; every one of them, Mr Perkins? Do you want a person who committed a felony to stay on welfare on unemployment? Is that your goal, Tom? I don't like the whole tone of this article. Why mention the YHC coming under fire in this article? This man isn't running the commission, right? So what is your point in mentioning it?


Thu, Mar 8, 2012 : 2:52 p.m.

He did not commit an employment related felony. He did not commit a felony while in his current position. What he did years ago has no bearing on his situation now. His probation violation could have been something as minor as forgetting to mail his monthly supervision fee to Texas - which of course would be a major infraction to the officials there.


Thu, Mar 8, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.

I think the story surfaced because of Mr. Hunter's efforts, not Tom. He is assigned to report Ypsi news and writes much more detailed stories than a lot of the other bloggers on I don't thinbk the issue is about him working there, but rather did he get paid or compensated in a way he shouldn't have for the three weeks he was absent from work.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

If they are paid with tax payer money we have a right to know and we will decide if they stay.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

It is important to know that Mr. Temple is the deputy director and has a significant role there.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 1:13 a.m.

Tom, I'm saying that this article is a witch hunt. &quot;some taxpayers&quot;? Well some taxpayers also think that a person serving their time should be able to work. Nowhere do you say he didn't do his job. Your comments about YHC problems are not related to him are they??? Come on. Some taxpayers would like felons to work! That's more tax dollars they are paying. Good for them! Does HUD have a rule against hiring felons? I highly doubt it. At a time when some agencies are accepting felons for employment, there are always those who want to point their finger at them for the rest of their lives, causing them to lose jobs and destroying any confidence they had. Shame on you.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 1:04 a.m.

Tom: You may have a valid point but let me take that line of thinking a step forward. If you own a vehicle you have to purchase gas. Please investigate and then alert us which gas store employees &quot;on your beat&quot; have a crimnal record. Everyone has to eat. Please investigate the criminal background records for every grocery store employee and let us know which ones have a crimnal record, &quot;on your beat&quot;. I am so tired of this private employee v public employee battle that is going on. In some small ways we are all dependent on each other. When the Ann Arbor News was in business and I had a subscription I was essentially a tax payer for every Ann Arbor News employee. Did the Ann Arbor news publish the criminal records for any and every employee? Doubt it .

Tom Perkins

Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 12:31 a.m.

Some taxpayers are interested in knowing if a person working for a housing authority that receives their money has a felony conviction involving a financial offense. Others want to know if a person appointed to a school board is a convicted felon. And some are interested in knowing Temple's employment status during the time he was simultaneously a YHC employee and in jail.

Dog Guy

Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 11:41 p.m.

Basic credentials for a government position


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 3:54 p.m.

The private sector is not funded with tax payer money, he must go.


Wed, Mar 7, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

Really? Can you prove this? Is it your contention that in the private sector there are no felons?