Letter: City undermined authority of board

Published 6:59 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Last year I was the Albert Lea HRA board chairman and just got done having an assessment meeting with the Housing and Urban Development staff from the Twin Cities. It wasn’t a very good review. We had bad stuff going on back as far as 2011, and we had a number of violations that needed to be fixed. One was the board didn’t provide sufficient oversight of the executive director. The board started asking a lot more questions of our executive director, and he decided to resign. I went to the city and asked if they’d work with us with some advice. Big mistake. The city gave us the assistant city manager, who would not listen to what we needed to get done, and the problems kept getting worse. 

My opinion is that the city undermined the authority of the Albert Lea HRA board, from the beginning of July to November, so they could take control of the HRA. But they needed the mayor to appoint four counselors to do that. So to do that, they needed four of us to resign. Now they had to wait for the November election to see who would win it. And the city manager kept the mayor and councilors he needed. If it had gone differently, the city manager would be the one looking for a job. He told the mayor the three of us were rogue board members, and the mayor had us resign or be removed. Three resigned. We were just tired of the city’s stupid actions, and one resigned because of getting yelled at by city staff.

Now I hear they’ve had to hire outside people to try and fix what they screwed up. Hope no one loses their homes over this. The board knew what needed to be done, and the city had a dream that turned into a nightmare. Oh well, that’s Albert Lea for you.

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John Severtson

Albert Lea