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According to sources, Mobile Housing Board Executive Director Akinola Popoola will face a pre-disciplinary hearing for undisclosed reasons.
The Mobile Housing Board of Commissioners (MHB) voted Tuesday, Sept. 11, to send Executive Director Akinola Popoola to a predisciplinary hearing for an unknown reason. The hearing has not yet been scheduled.
The vote came after a short executive session. The board did not elaborate on its action during the meeting and Popoola had no comment about the matter. Board Chairwoman Kimberly Pettway confirmed Popoola had been placed on paid administrative leave.
Popoola was hired last October to replace Dwayne Vaughn, who resigned on Feb. 28, 2017.
The board has also asked the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to come to Mobile to perform a technical review. Sources have said the request was in the works before the issue with Popoola emerged.
According to a memorandum obtained by Lagniappe, HUD has authorized Econometrica to provide “direct technical assistance” to the board and its employees. The memo lists a number of dates for assessments and other “on-site” visits. The dates are Sept. 24 to Oct. 3, Oct. 29 to Nov. 16, Nov. 26 to Dec. 14, 2018, and Jan. 7 to Jan. 25, 2019, according to the memo.
Popoola, who came to Mobile from the Opelika Housing Authority, is currently involved in a lawsuit with his former employer over 1,706 hours of unused sick time he claims he’s owed after signing a contract extension in late 2016. Popoola believes he is owed $108,208.53, according to the complaint filed in Lee County on Aug. 23.
Blake Oliver, an attorney representing Popoola in the suit, argues the contract stipulates Popoola is owed any unused sick time. Oliver said the suit speaks for itself.
Popoola claims breach of contract and asks the court to award the defendant “an amount to be determined by this court, including compensatory damages, together with interest, costs of this action and attorney’s fees.”
In a letter to Popoola addressing the unused sick time, Jennifer Chambliss, an attorney for the Opelika Housing Authority (OHA) board, wrote that the unpaid sick-time clause in the contract applies to termination and not if Popoola resigns or simply quits.
“Since your contract does not address unused sick leave at your resignation, I turn to and rely upon the employee handbook … ,” she wrote. “Because you have not been an employee with 25 years of service to OHA and [the Retirement Services of Alabama], you are not eligible to receive monetary compensation for your unused sick time.”
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