The following is a press release from the City of Michigan City regarding Mayor Duane Parry filing charges to remove four Michigan City Housing Authority Commissioners:
Mayor Duane Parry, the Appointing Authority of the Michigan City Housing Authority, served four MCHA Commissioners today with charges for their removal as Commissioners on the MCHA Board. The Michigan City Housing Authority works to provide housing stability for the families they serve while assisting the community with implementing long-term goals for affordable housing. The MCHA Board of Commissioners is the governing body of the agency and is responsible for the oversight of its operations.
The charges filed by Mayor Parry outline the documented history of MCHA’s failures over the last several years. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development designated MCHA as having substandard management. These deficiencies continued and, at the end of MCHA’s 2018 fiscal year, HUD found that these management deficiencies persisted, demonstrating a consistent pattern of severe management and performance failures. Under the oversight of the MCHA Board, the consistent deficiencies in the performance of the Housing Authority led to HUD designating MCHA a Troubled Agency on February 27, 2020, and on March 9, 2020, MCHA was further sanctioned by HUD and placed on “Zero Threshold” due to the instability of the management of the agency and its non-responsiveness to critical elements regarding the agency. This means that since March 9, 2020, all functions of the Housing Authority have been under HUD review.
Due to the MCHA Board of Commissioners failing to address these critical management issues, HUD required MCHA to enter into a Recovery Agreement on November 30, 2020, outlining certain performance milestones that must be met in order to prevent the total loss of local control of the agency. Further, based upon HUD’s recommendation, MCHA terminated its prior Executive Director due to the same concerns regarding the instability of management. As the Appointing Authority for the Board, Mayor Parry could have taken action under Indiana law at that time to hold the Board of Commissioners accountable for their failures and disservice to the community. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mayor Parry elected not to take action at that time.
As recently as April 13, 2022, Mayor Parry placed the Board of Commissioners on notice that they violated the Open Door Law during their March 31, 2022, meeting and were set to violate the law again during their April 13th meeting. These violations were based upon the fact that the Board did not have a remote meeting policy in place and was not adhering to the requirements of Indiana law. Despite being placed on notice by Mayor Parry during the public meeting held on April 13th, the four Commissioners currently facing removal charges voted affirmatively to proceed with the illegal meeting. The Commissioners that are subject to the removal charges are: Willie M. Lee, Milton H. Malone, Doretha Sanders-Malone and Carla Mock.
“I have the authority and responsibility to levy charges against Commissioners who have neglected their duties for years in order to facilitate their removal from the Board.” said Mayor Parry. The Mayor further stated, “In order to fully address the issues at the Michigan City Housing Authority, and to give the community the services that they deserve, new leadership is necessary immediately. These measures are in the best interest of the residents of the City of Michigan City.”