Mobile Housing Board

Despite plans for multimillion-dollar redevelopment projects, the Mobile Housing Board of Commissioners has been beset by financial shortcomings and dilapidating infrastructure. From reprimands from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and a lawsuit from former employees to the recent resignations of a longtime commissioner and executive director, the board has continued with plans to update its affordable housing stock.

Mobile Housing Board

Housing board reverses decision on director, offers job to rejected candidate

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after offering the executive director job to one of three final candidates , the Mobile Housing Board of Commissioners rescinded the offer and extended it to someone else. In late June, MHB awarded George Lee Byers the job of executive director, but on Wednesday the board rescinded the offer and instead offered it to Akinola Popoola.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...

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Housing board names pick for executive director

After a somewhat contentious and at times confusing special-called meeting Monday, June 26, the Mobile Housing Board of Commissioners offered the job of executive director to George Lee Byers. Byers (pictured above), who most recently worked as director of the Bridgeport Housing Authority in Connecticut, was approved 3-1 by the board. Commissioner Melvin Clark abstained from the vote because he had not been involved in the interview process. Commissioner Reid Cummings voted against Byers after his own choice, Akinola Popoola, was voted down by the same margin. While three of four commissioners ranked Popoola higher than Byers, Popoola did...

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Housing board narrows search for director

The Mobile Housing Board of Commissioners has narrowed its search for a new executive director to four candidates, with face-to-face interviews scheduled for later in the month, Chairwoman Kimberly Pettway said recently. The four finalists, who are all from out of town, were chosen from 10 applicants after a series of Skype interviews last month. Pettway did not name the candidates at this point out of respect for the fact that they are currently working other jobs. The face-to-face interviews will take place June 19 and 20, Pettway said, with plans for the board to call a special meeting...

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Public housing shortage amplified while MHB evolves

With two of its largest and oldest assets vacant and awaiting demolition, the Mobile Housing Board finds itself at a crossroads. The board of commissioners and the public housing agency it oversees must find a way to make existing conditions better for current residents, while also committing resources to a $750 million renovation of two entire sections of its decades-old housing stock. Additionally, MHB is working through a backlog of thousands on its waiting lists — which some have attributed to an affordable housing shortage — and is dealing with an occupancy of only 50 percent at two of...

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MHB makes more changes to its nonprofit arm

The Mobile Housing Board of Commissioners on Monday, Feb.13 took another step in the overhaul of its troubled nonprofit arm, Mobile Development Enterprises, by agreeing to work within the merit system to begin to merge the two entities. The first step for commissioners was a unanimous vote to bring MDE V.P. of Asset Management and Compliance Matthew McClammey and two executives that report to him under the MHB umbrella through the Mobile County Personnel Board. It was the most logical first step, Commissioner Reid Cummings said, because MDE has no assets. “The only assets they have they get from the housing board,” he said. READ OUR ONGOING SERIES OF STORIES ON THE MOBILE HOUSING BOARD The board discussed the ease at which they might be able to fold other positions in under MHB and the merit system. Attorney Raymond Bell said 60 percent of the merge would be “easy.” “The others would require asking the personnel board to create a position,” he said. “Another issue could be with the pay range … ” Commissioners discussed holding a work session with the personnel board to help them create needed positions that may not exist in other jurisdictions where the merit system is in place. Before MDE became the behemoth it is now with designs on development, it began as a small nonprofit created to secure grant funding for the Clinton...

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