The Levelland Housing Authority Board of Commissioners met Thursday to discuss operations of the authority. On Wednesday, October 12 the board placed Executive Director Cecilia Chavez on non paid leave following an indictment in Federal Court. City Manager Rick Osburn has been handling day to day operations since that time.
On Thursday, South Plains Community Action finance director Whitney Quick and Deputy Director Roger Cardenas presented an option to the commission for SPCAA to act as the operating agent on a six month trial basis. SPCAA runs housing in other communities, it was noted they do not have experience in housing projects such as Levelland has. It was presented through a budget projection that the SPCAA would receive $3,500 per month to operate the program and that current staff of the housing authority would become staff of South Plains Community Action and would be paid on the salary schedule. Interim Director Rick Osburn pointed out that the housing authority has been paying more than SPCAA pays for comparable positions, he noted they have been paying more than the city pays for comparable positions. He feels this is something that needs to happen to make the housing authority operate more efficiently.
It was pointed out that if the authority enters in to this agreement, they would have dip into their reserves unless some savings can be found to help the authority operate more efficiently. Osburn said to do this, you have to dip into reserves quite substantially, however, “I feel it is necessary to get someone in here with experience and evaluate all financial records and programs and make sure everything is correct and make changes to operate the program more efficiently.”
After limited discussion, the commission voted on a split 3-1 vote with Stanley Durham, casting the dissenting vote to have Osburn work out a operations agreement for six months with South Plains Community Action.