Wednesday, April 27, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

Commissioners Court appoints not-new housing agency board members

The reorganization of two local affordable housing agencies took another step forward at the Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday.

The court voted to appoint four people to the identical boards of directors that will govern both the Housing Authority of Travis County and the Strategic Housing Finance Corporation.

All four had served on the most recent iterations of the boards.

Two weeks ago, the court moved to streamline the agencies by making their boards separate but identical in makeup. That meant reducing the number of board members at SHFC from seven to five in order to line up with HATC.

As a necessary procedural step for restructuring the boards, the court also asked for the resignations of the incumbents. To fill the five new seats, the deal included making the application process available only to those incumbents.

Given vacancies and the fact that some members were already doing joint service at both HATC and SHFC, there were only seven incumbents who had to resign. Of the seven, only Intergovernmental Relations Assistant Julie Wheeler explicitly said she had no interest in reapplying. Two others, Richard Moya and Samuel Guzman, had said they were interested but failed to submit their applications by last Friday’s deadline.

Wheeler told the court she had repeatedly tried to contact both men but as of Tuesday morning had not heard a response.

The court voted 4-0-1 to appoint to both boards the four who did apply, with Commissioner Ron Davis abstaining. The commissioners then had to decide how to find a fifth person to join Ann Denton, John Hernandez, Eddie Karam and Wilmer Roberts.

County Judge Sarah Eckhardt floated the idea of giving Moya and Guzman one more week to send in their applications. However, Commissioner Gerald Daugherty balked at that notion. “I mean, if I’m having to prod somebody to do that, then I’m not real sure that I want them on the board,” Daugherty said. “Not that I have anything against any of them.”

The court ultimately decided to open up the application process to the general public with a May 13 deadline. Still undecided is whether the court will conduct interviews or staff will nominate a candidate.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Strategic Housing Finance Corporation: The Travis County affordable and strategic housing corporation.

Travis County Commissioners Court: The legislative body for Travis County. It includes representatives from the four Travis County Precincts, as well as the County Judge. The County Judge serves as the chair of the Court.

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