Saratoga Springs housing board leaders get new terms
Audit response delayed to February
SARATOGA SPRINGS The leadership of the controversial Saratoga Springs Housing Authority was re-elected Thursday for another year.
The authority’s seven-member board voted to give Chairman Eric Weller and Vice-Chairwoman Johanna Dushlek another term in office. Each candidate received five votes, with one against and one abstention in Weller's bid and two abstentions for Dushlek.
John Kaufmann, a city resident and outspoken critic of the authority, said the re-elections were regrettable considering the criticisms of the authority under this current leadership. Prior to Weller's ascension to chairman in May, the authority came under fire for its handling of a bedbug problem in the Stonequist Apartments, which popped up again this September.
This summer, the salary of Executive Director Edward Spychalski was questioned, and in November, a scathing review of the authority's spending was released by the state Comptroller's Office.
Responding to that audit with a corrective action plan is the next major task for the authority board, which created a committee Thursday to draft a plan. The committee includes board member Ken Ivins, who has occasionally been at odds with the board's leadership and was critical of the lack of board input in the authority's initial response to the audit.
Ivins also voted against giving Weller another term.
Kaufmann said he was encouraged by the presence of Ivins on the committee, but questioned what the final product will look like, considering Weller's open reluctance to embrace the recommendations of the audit.
The board’s review of the proposed corrective action plan is not scheduled until February because Weller will soon be traveling south for an extended trip. At the February meeting, which will likely be held Feb. 21, the board will vote to approve the draft and submit a final version.
"When I get back from my winter sojourn, I'll write it all up," Weller said.
There is no penalty if the authority doesn't respond to the comptroller's audit, which is advisory in nature. The audit recommended the corrective plan be submitted in 90 days, but there is also no penalty if it is late. If the authority sends its plan into the state sometime in the middle of February, it will either just make the 90-day deadline or be a few days late.
If the Comptroller's Office decides the plan is not responsive to the audit, they will send a letter to the authority asking for additional changes.