Just more than a month after offering the executive director job to one of three final candidates , the Mobile Housing Board of Commissioners rescinded the offer and extended it to someone else.
In late June, MHB awarded George Lee Byers the job of executive director, but on Wednesday the board rescinded the offer and instead offered it to Akinola Popoola. Chairwoman Kim Pettway only said the board needs to change the way it handles vetting in the future.
In its offer to Byers, commissioners made it contingent upon a background and other vetting procedures, which staff said was in line with Mobile County Personnel Board procedures.
“I think we’ve learned extensively from this process that vetting must take place ahead of our decision,” Pettway said. “It could have saved us so much time and effort here.”
Commissioners did not go into detail about what the vetting process turned up on Byers, but MHB Vice Chairman Reid Cummings said Byers didn’t “pass muster” once the process was completed. Byers most recently worked as director of the Bridgeport Housing Authority in Connecticut.
Cummings was the only commissioner in June to vote against offering the job to Byers. At the time, he favored Popoola. In June, Cummings said Popoola was “head and shoulders above the other two candidates” when it came to experience and also has a strong relationship with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“He knows how to get things done,” Cummings said, adding that the board should restart the search if Popoola wasn’t selected as leader.
The board voted 3-0 to offer Popoola, currently the executive director for the Opelika Housing Board, the same job in Mobile. Commissioners Pettway, Cummings and Hill voted in the affirmative. Commissioner Joyce Freeman abstained.