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Housing authority presents opportunities

Lou Schneider sees opportunities facing the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority.

On Tuesday night he was appointed to the board by Mayor Scott Johnson, who has five appointments to the board. Schneider, in his early eighties, is scheduled to serve a five-year term.

The housing authority recently got a scathing audit from the state, has been criticized for its executive director's pay and has come under fire for its handling of bedbugs in some of its buildings.

"They're not really problems. They're opportunities," said Schneider, who indicated the SSHA has solved its bedbugs problem.

He said he'll review the questions of executive pay, which may or may not be a serious issue. He said he wasn't yet familiar with the SSHA's corrective action plan in response to the state audit.

There is still information, he said, to catch up on before being at full speed with his new responsibilities. "I have to look at the bylaws," Schneider said. "I have to look at the handbooks and any papers and minutes that I can delve into."

Regardless, he believes this will be a positive experience where he can do good. "Why be on a board where there are no problems? ... I don't need it for my resume," he said.

SSHA Board member Ken Ivins said Schneider brings a wealth of information with him.

"I'm extremely excited to have Lou's experience and knowledge joining our board," he said. "I'm really excited to have him on board."

Ivins has been relatively mum about the SSHA outside of meetings, where he has deferred to Board Chairman Eric Weller on almost everything. In meetings, though, he has questioned some of the actions by the board and voted against Weller as chairman.

Schneider is the former chairman of the Saratoga Springs Democratic Committee. He was ousted from his seat on the committee in 2008.

His appointment by the Republican mayor, while crossing party lines, isn't that big of a shock, considering Schneider publicly backed Johnson in 2009.

Follow @poozer87 on Twitter.

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