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City accounts commissioner calls for removal of Housing Authority board

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Albany/HV: City accounts commissioner calls for removal of Housing Authority board
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Following more than a year's worth of trouble, a city official is calling for the removal of the Saratoga Springs Housing Authority's board of directors. YNN's Matt Hunter reports.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – After more than a year of negative press, Saratoga Springs Accounts Commissioner John Franck would like to see the city Housing Authority's current board of directors done away with.

"I think the best thing to do for the city, for the tenants, for everybody is to start from scratch," Franck said Monday.

Franck has introduced a resolution urging Mayor Scott Johnson to replace his five appointees with new members.

After releasing the findings of an audit in November, the New York State Comptroller's Office asked the Housing Authority to come up with plan to correct the agency's salary structure within 90 days. To date, that hasn't happened.

"I think when the board decided not to, within the 90 days, come back with a corrective action plan, that was the final straw for me,” Franck said.

The Housing Authority first came under fire in December 2011 when residents at Stonequist Apartments came forward about a bedbug outbreak.

The Comptroller's audit later revealed the agency had more than $12,000 in questionable travel costs and that the executive director’s $144,000 salary was not in accordance with personnel policy. Eric Weller, the chairman of the board of commissioners, who does not take a salary, maintains those issues have been corrected.

"He [Franck] repeats the same old allegations as though they were facts, they've never been established as facts,” Weller said. “The audit was clean in the sense we were found guilty of nothing."

Weller, who says he has no plans to resign, added that the Housing Authority was given a 30 day extension by the Comptroller's office.

Regardless of how the council votes Tuesday night during its meeting, the final decision rests in the hands of the mayor.

"All I can say is we'll deal with the facts and lay it out as clearly as we can," Weller said.

"There has to be change on this board because if we don't make change, we're going to have the same thing over and over again," Franck said.

Previous versions of this story incorrectly referred to Eric Weller as Executive Director of the Housing Authority. Again, Mr. Weller is an unpaid Chairman of the Board of Commissioners.

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