GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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January 10, 2013

Tarr's statement on public housing consolidation proposal

BOSTON – Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, released the following statement today in response to Gov. Deval Patrick’s unveiling of a proposal to consolidate the state’s 240 local housing authorities into six regional housing authorities:

“I appreciate Governor Patrick’s decision to address the issue of public housing reform in light of some of the egregious cases that have been reported involving the mismanagement of public funds and resources, which has detrimentally impacted thousands of tenants across the commonwealth. Clearly, stronger safeguards are needed to protect taxpayer dollars, and to ensure that those dollars are used efficiently and effectively to rehabilitate and maintain our deteriorating public housing infrastructure.

"A significant question remains, however, as to whether replacing our current system of local housing authorities with larger, centralized bureaucracies represents the best approach to achieving increased efficiencies and needed accountability. Recent systemic failures involving the Sex Offender Registry Board, the state drug evidence testing lab and the oversight of compounding pharmacies prove that large bureaucracies do not guarantee effectiveness, efficiency or safety.

"We cannot be certain how effective the governor’s proposal will be until we have all the details, but productive reform needs to be about more than a power shift to Boston of responsibilities currently handled locally. I look forward to working with all of the interested parties to produce needed and meaningful reforms.”

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