Open Government Project
A Government Watchdog Group
State of Texas
City of Galveston
Public Interest Groups
Are You Kidding?
by David Stanowski
06 June 2012
OK. This is the way it’s supposed to work.
The Mayor selects five “upstanding citizens” to serve as Commissioners on the Board of the Galveston Housing Authority. Their mission is to formulate and implement policy that will be good for residents of Public Housing, and the City of Galveston as a whole, and to follow all the appropriate laws.
It should go without saying that GHA Commissioners also have a fiduciary duty to oversee the prudent use of taxpayers’ money; i.e. YOUR MONEY.
In addition, the Commissioners select, hire, and oversee the decisions and performance of the Housing Authority’s Executive Director.
For some time now, the Mayor and the Commissioners have wanted to hire Stanley Lowe to fill the ED post that has been left vacant ever since Harrish Krishnarao was suspended, without a legally posted Board meeting, and then forced to resign. The Whistleblowers believe that Mr. Lowe was handpicked for this job, because the Mayor and the Commissioners believed he had the unique skill set that would allow him to FORCE through the rebuilding of Public Housing in this city in the face of mounting opposition.
Long-time readers will remember that GHA Whistleblowers contacted us last Fall, because they were upset by how much money some of the Commissioners were spending on their own travel and entertainment. You might think that the Commissioners would have been a little more responsible with YOUR MONEY after their own employees exposed their questionable expenditures, but you would be wrong!
Travel and Entertainment Expenses
The key thing to remember is that the Whistleblowers contact us; we don’t go looking for them! We wouldn’t even know where to find them. Many of the outrages taking place at the GHA would never come to light without these brave and principled people bringing these issues to our attention, even at the risk of being fired, if they are discovered.
The GHA Commissioners obviously knew a lot more about Stanley Lowe’s history in “managing” housing authority money and budgets than we discovered just by reading this article, and yet, they allowed him to take a "road trip" last month to Pittsburgh, USING YOUR MONEY, to show a “group of people” all the great things that he had done in his home town!
How much did this boondoggle cost?
See document from GHA.
This country is still in the midst of the greatest economic and financial crisis in its history. Millions of people are out of work, countless more are losing their homes, a record number of Americans are on food stamps, economic indicators show that the next leg down is upon us, Europe is back in recession, China is sliding, the BRIC countries are headed down; financial and economic pain and suffering are everywhere you look, and yet the GHA decided to pay for a "road trip" to Pittsburgh for “a group from GHA”!
Is this best described as horribly bad judgment and a failure to exercise fiduciary responsibly with YOUR MONEY, or is it simply plain old-fashioned HUBRIS?
Who is ultimately responsible?
Take your pick:
All of the above?
The GHA Commissioners and staff have every right to ask the taxpayers to pay for legitimate travel and entertainment expenses that are necessary to conduct business “in the public interest”, but the Whistleblowers who tipped us off about this “road trip” certainly do not believe that this was a legitimate business expense, and, to them, it is just further evidence of the misuse of federal funds.
Ultimately, the law-enforcement agencies will have to decide whether this rises to that level.
P.S. If you didn't stop to read the article that was mentioned earlier, now is the time to do so; it is EYE OPENING! It will give you further reason to question the judgment of those who selected the new ED. CLICK HERE