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January 29, 2013

Letter: Governor's housing plan doesn't add up

To the editor:

I have 44 years of experience in working at or with local housing authorities in the Pacific Northwest. I also teach Fundamentals for Housing Authority Commissioners and Ethics for Commissioners.

I have been following the Massachusetts governor’s proposal to “solve” the type of problem found with the Chelsea Housing Authority. While I believe that the proposal is well-intentioned, and while on occasion some problems can be solved by introducing a larger organization — regionalization would probably help low-income households find housing without applying to multiple housing authorities all over Massachusetts — I also believe that the governor is making a serious mistake with his idea (the Times, news story, Monday, Jan. 15, editorial, Tuesday, Jan. 16).

The critics of the plan are right about local control being best. Creation of a larger, likely-to-be-unresponsive-to-local-needs bureaucracy will not necessarily bring ethical conduct to this field of endeavor. The larger organizations are likely to reduce the all-important aspect of customer service and create other large bureaucracy-type problems.

The solution is not always easy, but it is relatively simple. You remove the offenders and find new oversight to make sure that the program/agency is properly administered and managed.

If one employee at your news organization was found to be incompetent, you would not fire everyone and give the reporting responsibilities to a newspaper in Boston, would you?

RON OLDHAM

Executive Director

Pacific NW Regional Council

National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials

Seattle

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