Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Five Years



...is one of my favorite tracks from David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1972)    

It's also the length of Carmelo Garcia's contract with H.U.D.

He was named HHA Deputy Director in 2007, then promoted to Executive Director in 2009.  Garcia signed a 5-year contract in 2010 which expires on August 31, 2015.

All this information is in the public domain.  So why are we talking about it?

The sudden interest over the HHA Executive Director's contract has everything to do with his own resistance to provide copies of it to the HHA Board, the unusual appointment powers ("sole authority") the contract allegedly gives him, re-appointment authority to the lawyer who drafted its contents, and the intense push-back against HHA Chairman Jake Stuiver- the scapegoating, the vicious online attacks on Stuiver and his family.


And the backdrop for all this: the proposed Vision 20/20 redevelopment of the HHA and its millions of dollars in contracts to be awarded, serious money and jobs, jobs, jobs.

So, the why of hiding the contract... the urgency to rehire the lawyer who drafted had everyone wondering what could be in this mystery contract?

Yesterday MSV provided the answer by posting the elusive document.

After its publication, the general consensus has been that the contract is generous in compensation and benefits, and lacking in any objective performance criteria, such as evaluations, attendance requirements, reporting obligations,etc. A lawyer friend said that the creepy-sounding 'savings clause' is fairly standard fare- it basically grandfathers the provisions of the original contract should the law change later.

So why hide it?  GA doesn't get it. There appears to be nothing 'illegal' written in the contract.

Instead, it's a contract so vague, so cushy, so generous, without accountability it leads one to believe that its author, Daglian is no longer acting on behalf of H.U.D, he is acting as Garcia's personal attorney; the impression created is that Daglian writes a dream-job for his 'client' and the contract perpetuates his own employment by empowering his 'client' to reappoint him. 

Who is protecting the oversight authority of  the HHA Commissioners?

No one, apparently.  And that's the situation as it stands.

A standoff between the Executive Director and the HHA Board, now that they are trying to assert their oversight authority.  A 'contract' suddenly appears out of the mist slapping back the authority's power to appoint another attorney.  At the conclusion, it appears Garcia prevailed to keep his defacto 'personal attorney', Daglian.

But all sorts of questions arise. 

 One is whether the given power to appoint 'employees' stated in the contract includes attorneys and other consulting professionals.  GA would interpret that as those working for Garcia in his capacity as Executive Director, those who call him 'boss'.  The attorney works for H.U.D. not the E.D.  If the E.D. was solely responsible to appoint the lawyer that does suggest an inappropriate 'attorney-client' relationship.  

The other, giving a 'junior'  Executive Director with only 1 year of experience on the job at the time a 5-year contract. 
40A:12A-18. Executive director of housing authority; qualifications. 

(b.)An individual who meets the qualifications set forth in this paragraph may be awarded a contract which shall not exceed one year, except that any person serving as an executive director at the time this bill is adopted into law shall be eligible to be awarded a contract not exceeding five years.

(2) An individual who, in addition to having met the qualifications set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection, has served for five years as an executive director of a housing authority, may be awarded a contract which shall not exceed five years. 
The statute appears to require 5-years of service in the position of Executive Director to be eligible for a lengthy (5 year) contract.    But you know, GA is no lawyer.  Dalgian is.

Maybe he knows something the rest of us don't.

4 comments:

  1. Garcia certainly did not have 5 years in the executive position when the contract was awarded. Thus I would assume, the contract itself as well as the takings claus would not be applicable- in essence leaving Mr. Garcia without a contract.

    The illegal contract issues are similar to the Petrosino contract/lawsuit. Petrosino "lost" his lawsuit.

    If I am not mistaken, the judge found that by state statute, only a 1 year contract can be awarded. Said contract cannot contain any claus(es) that would bypass state statute.

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    1. correction:takings claus still in effect

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  2. 2 thoughts.

    First, maybe the performance criteria is set by HUD and living in documents and standards they maintain for all EDs? Either way, guaranteeing automatic salary increases that aren't tied to inflation can only mean an assumption that the DE's value is necessarily increasing year on year. How? What objective standard is being applied to say that he will be worth 5% more in a year, and 5% more a year later (with the proviso that it is 5% of 105% of the original salary).

    Second, if these ED contracts are so easily gotten, perhaps we can compare and contrast with ones from, say, UC &JC.

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  3. If he felt so safe and secure then why the eff is he skulking around, according to what I hear, asking what jobs are available at the County? As far as I know, he is not getting a really positive reception to his inquiries, either. Maybe your boytoy/pothead Sullivabitch can blow some smoke out of his eyes long enough to find out what is really up.

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