August 26, 2011

Promoting Transparency, Enhancing Oversight of Public Housing Authorities

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Imagine you’ve got your eye on a new car, or you’re buying a TV, or you’re checking out college tuitions. You’d probably do some research to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth, right? With a Google search or a quick scan through Consumer Reports, it’s a breeze to investigate your investment.

HUD thinks it should be just as easy to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth when it comes to your tax dollars.

To that end, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing has announced that beginning next month, it will require that public housing authorities disclose the salaries of their five highest-paid employees.  HUD will soon make this information available online so that you, the taxpayer, can see the salaries of the public servants running your local housing authority and how their compensation compares to housing authority staff across the country.

And as an added safeguard to ensure public housing authorities are being smart when it comes to executive directors’ salaries, HUD is requiring the authorities to conduct comparability studies – to make sure these directors’ salaries are consistent with, for example, what other executives at similarly sized housing authorities across the country are earning.

The Obama Administration has made it clear: You deserve a transparent, accountable government. Running a public housing authority isn’t easy work, but you have a right to know whether your local housing authority officials are compensated appropriately.

To read the full HUD public notice on PHA executive compensation, click here.

8 Responses to Promoting Transparency, Enhancing Oversight of Public Housing Authorities

  1. There is nothing HUD can do. HUD has no power to set PHA compensation. And many PHA salaries are not even paid out of taxpayer dollars. HUD is the one wasting taxpayer dollars.

    • In the near future, HUD will begin to take control over PHA compensation because of the results of recent audits and unjustifiable labor practices. Recently, some Executive Directors responsible for PHA agencies have been suspended/terminated due to misuse of funds. I presently know of one PHA that practice favortism.

      I am in total agreement with this action so that all PHA employees will be compensated appropriately. It is time for tax payers dollars to be applied in total compliance.

  2. Open Government Directive with the three principals of Transparency, Participation and Collaboration has been 1 of the most beneficial changes for everyday Americans that has happened in our lifetime.

    The ability to access the “Facts” without having to spend countless hours drowning in “red tape” and after that to realize that you still do not have any more “Facts” than you did before you started… something we did not have until President Obama.

    I Respectfully disagree with the first 2 replies in regards to this. For your average American, I do not see this as a path to change a salary if you think someone is making too much or too little, as the first reply inquired about. In regards to the second reply, this announcement states “HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing has announced that beginning next month, it will require that public housing authorities disclose the salaries of their five highest-paid employees” It says nothing about HUD having or not having “power to set PHA compensation” as you have stated in your reply.

    If I have in anyway misunderstood and/or misread what the intention of either or both replies were saying please tell me.


  3. Completely absurd and infurating. HUD should spend more time worrying with more important issues instead of creating more problems for an agency’s staff. If you know of an issue at one agency go after them, not all HA’s.

  4. 1.
    Comparing executive salaries to what others in similar Housing Authorities make doesn’t necessarily provide an accurate picture. Cost of living in an area, experience, education, and other similar factors are all relevant to setting compensation, but are not mentioned by HUD as being part of their evaluation.

    2. Some very small housing authorities may share an executive. This sort of sharing does not necessarily lead to an increase in responsibility in terms of number of units managed, but can yield a disproportionately high salary when compared to executives who manage a similar or less number of units. IE: John is the executive at ABC, DEF, and GHI Housing Authorities, each of which have 50 units. John is paid $35,000 by each Housing Authority, or a total of $105,000.00 per year to manage 150 units. Alternatively, Bill works at XYZ Housing Authority which has 300 units, but is paid $85,000.00 per year.

    What a bogus waste of time, energy, and money when there are so many who could benefit from the expenditure of these dollars in a different way.

  5. That’s a great idea. Tax payers should know where their $ are going. If as a tax payer you feel the salaries are to high you can bring that forward to the board of commissioners for some answers.

  6. You’ve got to be kidding! The Obama administration wants transparency? This is another example of “do as I say and not as I do.”

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